Today is the sixth anniversary of one of the most memorable and horrific events that America has experienced in her short history. It’s hard to believe that it has been six years since our country – and world – was forever changed. I remember sitting in my AP English class; it was the first week of my senior year in high school. My teacher said, “Now I need to tell you all something, but I need you to be calm.” From her somber tone, I knew it wasn’t going to be good news.
“An airplane just crashed into the World Trade Center in New York City. They think it was an accident and that’s all we know.” We had a moment of silence and class proceeded, but when the bell rang my classmates and I headed straight for the school’s library (the only place that I knew I’d be able to catch CNN’s coverage).
When I entered the library, I was mesmerized. My classmates had assembled on the top floor, looking down from the balcony at the television set stationed on the first floor; there must have been hundreds of students present, but a deafening silence ensued. I arrived just in time to view the second plane hit; suddenly, it wasn’t an accident and I knew that my life – and America – would both be forever changed.
So, here we are four years later more divided than we’ve ever been. I often wonder how we let our society come to this point – a point at which no useful forms of outreach or dialogue are taking place. I’d like to encourage everyone reading this to remember that tragic day, but don’t simply recall the terror and sadness that gripped each of our hearts; think about the unity I fear that our nation will never again see – a unity so strong that it transcended stone-wall barriers of hate and division.
While it didn’t last long, I truly believe that the moments that followed the events of that Tuesday morning were the first and only windows through which I was able to see the true American spirit – a spirit so strong that it touched the hardest heart, taking hold of every American and showing us the true uniformity of character we all share.
We spend a lot of time on Where I Stand criticizing and complaining. I want to take this moment to say that no matter who you are – Republican or Democrat, liberal or conservative, you’re an American at heart; I hope that we can one day look back at the unity that resulted from 9/11, but not with remembrance – rather with a sense of accomplishment and essence in finally being able to recreate and sustain the beauty that lasted only breaths on that fateful day. Seek out the true American heart that lay within us all.