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Emmy Griffin / September 15, 2021

‘Never Forget’: The Hollow Virtue Signal of Woke Corporations

The 9/11 phrase is often an empty virtue signal driven by economic need, not patriotism.

This past weekend marked the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The famous phrase “Never Forget” was plastered all over social media, signaling to all that Americans can still be united on this day, if no other. Tragically, though, for big corporations, it is an empty virtue signal driven by economic need rather than true patriotism.

September 11 was very formative to this author. Up until that point, my young mind had been fed a steady diet of moral relativism, philosophical pluralism, and ignorance of true malice in this world. What those hijackers did on those planes was unambiguously evil, even to a youngster like myself, and it forced me to really evaluate what I had been taught and what I believed.

The horror and tragedy of that day was juxtaposed with the incredible heroism on the part of many Americans. There were brave flight attendants whose last act was to help identify the terrorists on the planes; there were brave passengers on Flight 93 who decided to fight rather than let the hijackers hit their target; there were brave police officers and firefighters in New York City and Arlington; and there were brave American soldiers who fought to defend us in Afghanistan and Iraq.

It will never not be emotional and full of memories. That evening of September 11, 2001, my childhood neighborhood lit candles in remembrance of those who lost their lives. People lined their lawns with American flags to show solidarity as American people. We had one identity.

Twenty years later, America has lost its identity. Many things can be (and have been) said about the choice to withdraw from Afghanistan. The glaringly obvious is that the way it transpired was profoundly callous and will define Joe Biden’s presidency. His dereliction is a stain on our honor as a people.

Which is why, on this September 11, when browsing through social media, my reaction was visceral when posts appeared from big corporations featuring pictures of the Twin Towers and the slogan “Never Forget.”

These corporations were silent on the disastrous withdrawal. They were silent when 13 U.S. service members and nearly a hundred Afghanis were killed in the suicide bombing in Kabul. They have said nothing about the poor people who are stuck in Afghanistan, hostages to the Taliban. For all their virtue signaling a few years ago with the #MeToo movement, where is their outrage on behalf of the Afghan women who now have to suffer under Sharia law? And yet they have the audacity to post “Never Forget”?

It’s hard to tell if the motivation for these posts is simply cowardice, political catering, or ignorance of what “Never Forget” actually means to countless patriotic Americans who experienced immeasurable heartache that day. The irony is that they are so quick to forget the post-9/11 sacrifices of many courageous soldiers to counter the threat of terrorism against the United States.

Please, big corporations, spare us the insincerity. Virtue is proven through where you actually stand on any given issue. It is not a once-a-year, halfhearted post that probably means very little to you as a company.

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