Remembering That Day In September, And The Lessons It Taught Us.
As the dawn sets on a somber day of National mourning, of remembrance and of reflection, and the nation once again focuses on a heated and divisive political atmosphere, it’s important to draw upon the lessons we learned that crisp September morning, and in the numbing months that followed.
Anyone of a certain age vividly recalls the horrific images of that fateful day; images that are forever seared into our collective memories. You recall the feelings of anguish and pain that no amount of tears could ever wash away, and that no embrace could ever extinguish. That immobilizing feeling of knowing that we, as a nation, in that very instant, had forever lost our innocence, and that the very fiber of our land would be tested as it perhaps never had before.
But we can draw strength from what followed. We recall how amidst all that horror, average citizens rushed without hesitation to aid our brave first responders. We recall how strangers rushed to help strangers without consideration of skin color, or social status. And we recall how the entire nation shared in the grief. We remember the agonizing months that followed, and how it drew us together as a nation. We understood that our democracy was being tested. We understood that we had to show the world that we were strong, and we responded. We proved to the world that every American had value, and that ours is indeed a beacon of light for all the huddled masses yearning to breathe free.
Now, time has passed and we’ve once again seemed to lose our way. We find ourselves living in a time of division, a time when heated rhetoric seemingly serves only to tamp the hope that our nation is once again a shining beacon. We seem to have forgotten that heroics lie within all of us, and take many forms. We seem to have forgotten that at its core, ours is a proud country. A country of red rock and green valley, of glorious mountains and jagged rivers – so very vast – yet made so small by the events of that tragic day.
History will provide clarity on the lasting effects of these events and how they have impacted the national psyche. But we understand, now, that we as a people are capable of finding that common ground. We already know that what divides us is less important than what binds us. We know that at our core, we are all Americans.
So as this day draws to a close, I choose to reaffirm my commitment to my neighbor. I choose to reaffirm my vision of what this nation stands for. I understand that we will have petty grievances, and there will be setbacks along the way as we yearn to continue to perfect this great experiment. But I have faith that we will once again find our way and I know that we can achieve a greatness we can all be proud of.
I know, because I remember.
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