As we approach the 15th anniversary of 9-11 and the significance in American History we can reflect on not only the events on that day but the aftermath and how our beloved country changed. Prior to that tragic day our country was increasing in its political divide. The presidential election of 2000 had many Americans blaming the election process, the courts and the media for the eventual White House occupant. What was a country of political differences became a country of political anger and hatred.
However, on that shocking and somber day America realized something else. We came together and watched the events of that Tuesday morning unfold before our eyes. We saw planes take down buildings. We saw our defense headquarters being attacked. We saw the fear and horror in people’s eyes. We also saw leadership and we saw heroes such as the first responders and the many passengers on flight 93, as well as all those that remain nameless but thought of others before themselves during that tragic day. The days that followed changed America. People were waving the American Flag, had flags attached to their car, attached to their homes, on their lapels. Being an American was not about the differences we had but the bond that we all shared. We had seen a country that had evolved since the 1700’s into one of the strongest, most economical, free societies that was the envy of the rest of the world and on that fateful day we were being challenged. Our patriotism was stronger than ever as was our resolve to find the culprits and bring them to justice. Our Nation changed but we accepted the longer lines at the airport. We accepted the larger presence of police at events. We expected that life will always be a little different but it was all to preserve the American Dream and a Nation that would continue to change the world. We were not Black, White, Asian, or Hispanic. We were not Rich, Poor, Unemployed or Educated. For the days and months after 9-11 we were Americans, just Americans. We hugged each other, watched out for each other and did whatever we could to help our fellow Americans. We also prayed. America turned to each other and to GOD to move forward and try to continue with our lives in spite of the loss of so many and the changes to our daily lives as we had known it. The sad truth is that the further and further that tragic day seemed to be in the rear view mirror and people’s lives returned to somewhat normalcy we also forgot about being Americans. We returned to labels, to classifications and to blaming others instead of helping and doing our fair share.
With the growth of social media it became much easier to distribute information, both truthful and otherwise. We saw terrorist groups use social and mainstream media to spread their message of hate and we as Americans grew in anger, not only towards these groups that want to destroy our way of life but to each other. Today there is anger that many citizens have towards one another because of financial differences, political differences or lifestyle differences. Also, there is anger between Americans because of culture, race and religious differences that has grown to a level not seen in a very long time. If the day in which thousands of American lives were lost and many, many others were affected both during and for the years after, it can teach us that America is not about everyone agreeing. It is not about everyone looking the same, earning the same or sounding the same. It is about America working together to protect our freedom. It is about America working together to help each other and about America working together to keep God in our lives. If we promote the good in people and the good in America, the terrorists do not win. If we love one another, respect one another and work together in spite of our differences than the terrorists do not win. If we stick to our resolve and never forget what being an American is and always honor those that fought for and allowed us to live in this great nation, then the terrorists cannot win. On this 15th Anniversary we need to go back to hugging our neighbors, waving our flag and being proud of America. In spite of its challenges, we need to be resolute to never stop doing what makes America great….if we do this, terrorism WILL NEVER win…. God Bless the United States of America.