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Heretofore, I have studiously avoided any topic in my blog which might be construed as controversial. I like my blog to be like the movies I enjoy – entertaining, and, sometimes, a little educational. However, I am going to make an exception today.
Today is the 11th anniversary of the blatant attacks on all of us by members of Al Qaeda. Don’t think for one moment that these attacks were just on New York City or Washington, DC. They were the targets because that’s where the planes were going and those were symbols of America and Americans. Those attacks were targeted on all of us – every last one of us. The color of our skin, our politics, what schools we did or didn’t attend, even our religious beliefs made no difference. The reason for the attacks – we’re Americans.
This day will reside in our collective memories. Those of us who were alive when President Kennedy was assassinated vividly remember where we were and what we were doing. (I was a child in elementary school.) There are other memories that will never subside – the Oklahoma City bombing, the Challenger explosion – but those all were either individual attacks (a president, an institution) or a terrible accident. The attacks on September 11 were choreographed attacks on the entire of the United States of America.
No, I’m not doing my normal blog because I’m angry. I’m still very angry. I’m angry because we Americans are vulnerable. That’s something I’ve known ever since I was a VERY small child. I grew up in St. Petersburg, Florida. At the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis, MacDill Air Force Base was the home of the United States Strike Command. We all knew – even as very small children – that MacDill would likely be one of the first targets should Cuba use their missiles. We learned “duck and cover” in daily drills. We also ‘knew’ in our hearts that if we ever heard the sirens – other than during a drill – we were all dead as were our parents, pets, friends…
I learned then what it was like to be vulnerable. Over the many ensuing years, I hadn’t forgotten how frightening that feeling was, but it wasn’t top of mind. That was until driving into work on September 11, 2001. All of the sudden, the fact that we are all targets was shoved in our faces once again.
However, there was some good to come out of the aftermath of the devastation and destruction. For a few precious weeks and months, we Americans were drawn together more than we had been any time since, probably, Pearl Harbor. We were all a little kinder – a little quieter. We listened to each other. We supported each other. We accepted our differences and worked together to get through our shared sorrow.
Somewhere in the past eleven years, we’ve lost a lot of that unity. No, we will never all agree on politics, religion, a myriad of other tenants we all hold personally dear. We don’t have to. We are AMERICANS! We are free to think and speak as we believe.
We should NEVER FORGET, however, that we must cherish our freedoms, our countrymen, and our nation. The moment we let go of those ideals, the terrorists in those planes win. Like the heroic men and women on Flight 93 who died to keep the third plane from attacking us all, we must be vigilant of those who would destroy us – whether they come from outside or within.
We must NEVER FORGET that WE are the United States of America. If one of us is attacked, we all are attacked.
WE must NEVER FORGET that WE are America.
God Bless America, and God Bless Us All!