It was a Tuesday morning 17 years ago when The United States of America changed. Our country was attacked, many lives lost, and the effects of that day will continue to be felt in many ways for generations to come. I remember attending the first Big Ten Football game post 9/11. It seemed all of us in the stands were a little nervous, being in a stadium with 70,000 + people and what could have been a target of another attack. When the National Anthem started we all rose, put our hand over our heart and listened to the words. By the end there was probably not a dry eye in the stadium. Then something else happened, people began to hug each other. It wasn’t about our personal beliefs, our political differences or anything else that makes each of us uniquely individual but rather what brings us together as Americans..We were all proud that day, proud of what we were standing for, proud of what our country has meant. Remembering all the lives that were recently lost and all those that had been lost since our founding days. For the next few months flag pins, cars with flags and American Patriotism took the lead in conversations, in politics, and in the media. We were, One Nation Under GOD. As the months past, the attitude of that day and the immediate aftermath began to change. Division started to grow and instead of looking at each other as Fellow Americans with some different ideas and opinions it became an “us against them” attitude. If we can each remember how we felt in the Fall of 2001 maybe we won’t need another tragedy to come together but instead be a stronger nation because of what we have in common instead of focusing on our differences.
Lee Greenwood’s lyrics resonate now as much as they did then..
“And I’m proud to be an American Where at least I know I’m free
And I won’t forget the ones who died who gave that right to me
And I’ll gladly stand up next to you and defend her still today
Cause there ain’t no doubt I love this land, God Bless the USA.”