Counterpoint: Should September 11th be recognized as a national holiday?


Noah Loewy, Contributing Writer

Sept. 11, 2001 was a day filled with horrific acts of terrorism as well as the heroism of first responders and ordinary people.  If 9/11 were made a national holiday, the grave importance of the day might be trivialized, as many people might think of it as just another day off. Instead of making 9/11 a school holiday, our primary focus must be  educating our children about the dangers of hate and intolerance to prevent future tragedies.

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, hate crimes have risen at an alarming rate over the past decade, especially against minorities such as Jews, Muslims, African Americans, and the LGBTQ+ community.  This includes the infamous Boston Marathon Bombing of 2012, shootings at The Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, the Orlando Night Club Massacre, and the recent uprising of white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia.  For many New Yorkers, 9/11 was a day when spouses, children, and best friends were lost.  These lives, as well as all the lives lost due to other acts of intolerance, deserve to be honored for more than just one day each year.

“A holiday is something that I don’t think about until the actual day arrives,” said senior Davida Harris.  “Throughout the years, Columbus Day has become a day I acknowledge momentarily.  I don’t stop to honor it.”

Tolerance isn’t ingrained in our DNA. It’s a concept that needs to be taught and constantly reinforced.  Teaching students to respect one another needs to be stressed, and 9/11 is the ideal day to do so.  If 9/11 became a national holiday, public schools, government buildings, and state-run programs would close.  Why not use the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks as an active day of in-school reflection?

“Tolerance is a huge part of what makes America successful,” said freshman Ryan Klein.  “If people in our country didn’t accept each other’s differences, there would be constant instability.”

If 9/11 were deemed a national holiday, future generations may come to think of it as little more than another day of vacation.  Instead of thinking about the tragic aftermath of the attack, students would use the day to catch up on homework or see their friends.

For example, Labor Day is better known for soccer tournaments and poolside barbecues than for the original reason it was created. The holiday was meant to honor the American Labor Movement, but not many people are aware of that today. As time goes by, the reason that holidays were created in the first place is lost to the traditions we create for those days.

“For as long as I can remember, Labor Day has just been a day of relaxation.  I bet people don’t even know why we have off on Labor Day.  I fear that this could happen to the 9/11 attacks,” said senior Patrick Barry.

As another example, Memorial Day, a day meant for remembering the lives of brave soldiers, has become a holiday that stores use for marketing.  “Memorial Day Sales” are common nowadays, and effective at attracting excited shoppers.  Turning this day into a holiday took away from the day’s significance, turning a day of mourning into an opportunity for car sales and coupons.

We must never forget 9/11, especially since it happened so close to home.  By actively discussing and emphasizing the horror and heroism of the day, teachers can ensure that future generations will always remember the impact of the event.   Instead of taking the day off, we must open the doors to learning.

“If turned into a national holiday, we would think of 9/11 differently.  We must use the day to educate our youth about all things associated with 9/11, and emphasize our need to respect one another.  It is important that future generations encourage diversity, so that we can prevent attacks,” said senior Jared Levine.

Schools should use this day to teach about the dangers of intolerance and honor the memory of all lives lost.  We must educate future children and honor the heroes who put their own lives at risk.  On 9/11, we should pause for a moment of silence at 8:46 a.m, 9:03 a.m., 9:37 a.m, 9:59 a.m., 10:03 a.m., and 10:28 a.m. —the times the towers and pentagon were hit and when the towers collapsed.