It has been ten years since that clear day in September. Much has happened since then. Some things are related to the attacks of 9/11 and some are a result of the attacks.
The day after the attacks, we as a nation, were in shock. We were frightened by the unknown. We were unsure of who had attacked America and why. We were afraid of further attacks. And as horrific as the attacks on 9/11 were, we could still imagine things that would be even more horrific.
As the days passed the nation came together, in a way that it hadn’t in quite some time. It seemed as if every home had a flag. People put away their past problems with their neighbors, long enough to talk about what all of it meant. Even political enemies were able to put aside their agendas and work together to safe guard the nation and its citizens.
As the images of that day filled our homes on that day and in the days following, we realized that ours is a nation made up of individual heroes. We witnessed the first responders, police and firefighters, as they ran towards hell on earth. We saw average citizens helping each other in any way they could.
Later as more details came out about what had happened inside the Trade Towers and the Pentagon,and on Flight 93, we heard even more amazing tails of selfless acts of bravery. The people who organized orderly evacuations and stayed behind to ensure that everyone else made it out. And those who chose death so that others would live.
It is not surprising that ten years later, some of those images have faded. The flags are maybe not as plentiful. We have gone back to our old ways of not speaking to neighbors and our political enemies, are just that.
In the immediate aftermath of 9/11 we as a nation held lightning in a bottle. We had that rare national commodity, an almost unanimous national unity. We had what we saw as a common enemy, even if that enemy was ill-defined. We felt and understood the need to stand together.
Tomorrow we will again come together as a nation in remembrance of that fateful day. We will remember those who lost their lives and honor those who gave their lives on that clear September morning ten years ago. There will be flags, there will be prayers, there will be speeches. And God knows, there will be tears. Tears for those gone, never to return. Tears for those left behind. The parents, the children, brothers and sisters. Tears for friends we miss. Tears for the sheer heartbreak of realizing that one human being could do such a thing to another.
But where are we now, ten years later as a nation? Are we safer? Not really. Though we take many more precautions at our airports and in our large cities, we have to remember that our enemies are always seeking new ways to attack us. To terrorize us. Fear is their weapon and their goal.
Are we stronger as a nation? I would have to say no again. As we have moved past our fear of ten years ago, we have also put aside our unity. We have fallen back into our habits of dividing ourselves into sub groups. White/black. Rich/poor. Christian/Muslim. Liberal/conservative. Republican/Democrat. North/south/east/west. Irish/German/Italian/Egyptian/Mexican. Or any of a million other descriptions of ourselves and those around us.
And yes, America is all of those things. Its people, are a people of many colors. Of many ethnic heritages. Of many religions. A country made up of such a diverse number of backgrounds and abilities that it is amazing that we have survived for over two hundred years.
Yet it is this diversity that has given us the ability to succeed. The fact that we had so many different backgrounds to draw from. We have always been able to come together as a nation to overcome all that would lay us low. There have been times when this has been in doubt. We have faced economic hardships. We have fought wars for our own Liberty and that of others around the world.
We are currently facing again what can be described as hard times. Both economically and politically. We are facing enemies from without and within. The enemies from without are actually easier to define now, than they were ten years ago.
But who are our enemies from within? If you ask a member of the TEA movement they will tell you it is the liberals and Pres. Obama. If you ask a liberal, they will tell you it is the TEA Party people and the Republicans. If you ask the man who has no job, he will tell you it is the big corporations that won’t hire him. If you ask the CEO, they will say it is government with all of its regulations. The poor will say the rich, the rich will say the welfare mothers. The Christians will say the Muslims. The whites will say the blacks and Mexicans.
It seems as if today, the same diversity that made us great, has become what is tearing us apart. So it would seem, that the true enemy from within is ourselves. Each and every one of us. We have lost the ability to see each other as Americans and see ourselves as something smaller.
For this nation to once again be great, we must be able to see past our petty differences and to once again see ourselves as American citizens. For if we allow our differences to define us, those who attacked us on 9/11 will have no need to attack us again. We will do their work for them. We as a nation will cease to be the United States of America.
May God bless those who lost family and friends in the attacks. May those of us left behind find a way to get past our differences. For the greatest honor we could bestow upon those who gave their lives on 9/11 and in the years following, to protect our Liberty, is to be the greatest, freest nation on the face of the planet. That is why we were attacked and that is how we defeat those who attacked us.