Ten years have passed since that fateful day in 2001 when America was attacked by a faceless coward. Last year I wrote this memorial essay in commemoration of the assault on our nation’s resolved. I also accompanied those comments with an audio track. I have chosen to republish that post again this year, in honor of those who gave so much at such a painful time. May God Bless the United States of America.
On September 11, 2001, the most devastating attack on American soil occurred. Planes struck the two World Trade Center Towers, collided with the Pentagon and crashed in Pennsylvania. On that fateful day, the United States of America was hit by a merciless, radical enemy—faceless cowards who cared not for innocent life and who despised liberty.
Ten years ago today, I was just an 11-year-old 6th grader who only a few weeks before had embarked on his middle school journey. It was that morning, when I was in my “Language Arts” class, that the principal of Falcon Creek Middle School, Dr. Cynthia Fischer, got over the loudspeaker and made an announcement in regard to the attacks.
Though the tragedy had already been well underway by that time, I had no prior knowledge of the strike. It shook me and sparked questions ofcuriosity and intrigue and conversations throughout the day, but I still had no conception for what had happened. To be honest, even to this day I don’t think I, or anyone not directly affected by the attacks, ever really can.
That afternoon, I returned home from school to learn that my uncle was still in Colorado. He resides in upstate New York and had been visiting for the inaugural Broncos football game at Mile High, during which, with great irony, the New York Giants faced the Denver Broncos. In fact, I can still, to this day, picture my uncle returning to my house from an afternoon outing on that day. And I remember being glued to the television screen, watching as the afternoon and evening news spoke of nothing but the attacks.
Young though I may have been, I will ever forget that day, just as tens of millionsof Americans throughout the country will not—especially those who lostloved ones or who put their own lives on the line so that they mightsave the lives of strangers.
Indeed, the sacrifices of those in New York City’s Police and Fire departments were extraordinary, both in their courage and the sacrifice of those who died in the line of duty. And the bravery displayed by those on Flight 93, which crashed in Pennsylvania, is utterly inexplicable and deeply honorable. One can only imagine what they, the other planes’ passengers and their families were going through.
Today I look back on 9/11, and in so doing first recall my own experiences and the sacrifices made by so many at thattime. But then I consider the other details of the day and the days thatfollowed: Congressional leaders, Republican and Democrat alike, standing side-by-side and hand-in-hand on the steps of the U.S. Capitol, joined together in singing “God Bless America.”
President George W. Bush addressing the nation in one of the most solemn and uplifting speeches in all our history, as well as his subsequent and powerful Address to Congress. Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s strength of leadership in bringing his city through the most trying time in its history. Congress’s bipartisan stand. And of course Mr. Bush’s spur-of-the-moment, bullhorn remarks on the rubble to the brave men andwomen fighting to save lives in the aftermath of the attacks perpetrated by a “faceless coward.”
Setting aside politics, policy and political affiliation, the leadership and unity displayed by thoseindividuals was an extraordinarily powerful gesture—and it was precisely what the American people needed. Not long after one of the most bitter election battles in US history, the solidarity demonstrated by thenation’s leaders was considerable.
At that moment, we were no longer Republicans or Democrats, libertarians or Naderites. We were all Americans. And we were damn proud of it.
The actions of our leaders served as proof that we are indeed, as the Pledge of Allegiance asserts, “one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” When the going gets tough—when our freedom and our way of life are threatened by those who wish to do us harm—we will indeed rally together behind Old Glory and the republic for which it stands. We will not splinter, and we will not succumb to the tyranny of evil. Instead, we will unite together behind and fight for all that we hold dear in our hearts.
My friends and fellow Americans, we find ourselves at this point in time deep in the midst of an intense election cycle. We cannot avoid the partisan strife of Republicans versus Democrats, the internal party struggles in races like Colorado’s governor fight and whether or not the current Administration’s policies are appropriate.
But on this day—the day on which every American dropped party labels and ideologies, halted the bickering and rallied together behind the Flag—let us set aside politics. Let us drop the partisanship and the electioneering.
Let us unite, as a people, and remember that which took place nine years ago today—the sacrifice, the hardship, the evil and the solidarity. And let us never forget what happened that fateful morning on September 11, 2001.
These are my reflections. Thanks for taking the time to read them, and may God Bless the United States of America.