I was in college. I had done some ROTC training and was wearing my camouflage Army uniform, as was my sister. We were together at the county courthouse while I did some freelance work running background checks. Out of a side office we heard someone exclaim, “They’ve attacked New York!”
And my life, and the life of my country, would never be the same.
My sister, who was already enlisted before doing a year of ROTC in school, would lose good friends in the attack. I would gain an anger toward the Middle East that would take me years to forgive. And all of us would lose the secure feeling that the US was safe from outside attack.
Other things would change – airport security measures are more invasive, military campaigns have captured terrorists and cost American lives, and each year we find ourselves on September 11th remembering those who died – and the national innocence we lost that day.
Our country came together in a unique way after the attack on the Twin Towers. For a few days at least, we suddenly remembered that we were all on the same team. We were Americans, and that mattered more than if we were black or white, Republican or Democrat. Communities pulled together. The Red Cross got record blood donations. We were, in fact, united.
As time went on and life returned to what we now call normal, we once again divided and took our respective sides on a host of issues and political chatter. Today, as we run up to another divisive presidential election, we would do well to remember the after-effect of September 11th – the way it brought us together.
America – whatever race, political persuasion, or lifestyle – we are one.
Where you were you on September 11th, 2001? What events have marked your life? Share in the comments!
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