Fifteen years ago, we were a country that we thought was divided. Then we woke up to the morning of September 11, the horror and disbelief shared by all. There was fear, uncertainty, outrage and heartbreak. But most of all there was patriotism. Pride in America. We garnered our resources and we stood up. We stood up for our first responders, we stood up for the heroes of Flight 93 and we stood up for the thousands that died on that day.
We had never dealt with anything of that magnitude on American soil; the closest comparison being Pearl Harbor. American’s came together. We prayed, we flew flags, we gathered in groups large and small. We supported and loved each other regardless of sex, race, creed, religion, sexual orientation, or economic status. We were first and foremost Americans.
Flash forward another 11 years. Terrorism, although not common in America, had become something with which we were all too familiar. Warnings were out, people were cautious, but all seemed to be going well. Then Benghazi happened. And things changed. It was no longer America vs. Terrorism, it was initially presented as our own fault. Fingers were pointed and blame was laid at our own supposed insensitivities. The good guys became bad and the bad guys became misunderstood. America was once again becoming noticeably divided.
Four years later, we are still sliding. We still show solidarity, but it’s with other countries or causes, never America. France suffers a terrorist attack and we all change our Facebook picture to France’s flag for a day. Nothing wrong with that. I did it too. We do the same with Belgium; or the different sub-categories of Americans. We just don’t seem to unite under OUR common flag.
So in honor of 9/11, starting today, let’s remember that we are ALL Americans. We may be, a different sex, or a different religion, we have different economic conditions and sexual orientations, our skin tones may vary and our credo may be different, but underneath it all, at our base WE are Americans. Whether by birth or by choice we live in the greatest nation the world has ever known. Remember that. Take pride in that. Stand up for that. We are not perfect. We don’t pretend to be, but we are Americans. Don’t let it take yet another terrorist attack to remind you, and please don’t let misguided individuals take that away from you. We are Americans. Stand up.