By now we have seen countless tributes to the attacks that shocked our nation on September 11 2001. The attacks that we refer to as 9-11, so my focus will skip that day and center on the following day and those that came after that.
The days that followed the attacks found a country that was as united as it had ever been. Barns across the country wound up with flags painted across their roofs. Retail outlets that sold flags, sold out. The demand for flags reached the highest level that had ever been seen. We heard the chants “We will never forget”. It was a patriotic moment similar to what was experienced when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor.
My question now is, what happened to those patriotic feelings we had from that time. We have a country as divided as it has ever been except for perhaps the civil war. We have a populace not only uninterested in having a flag but uninterested in even standing for the flag.
We have a whole generation now who have no memories of that day and only know what they have read or heard on TV and radio. This is quite a difference from the group of heroes that fought back on flight 93 and thwarted what was believed to be a planned attack on the capitol building. The act of courage from a small group of passengers who were rushing the cockpit forced the plane to crash in Somerset County, Pennsylvania. That was a clear view of what heroism looks like.
What happened to us? How do we get that unity back? How can we learn to talk out our differences without hate and violence but in a rational manner? We should remember the slogan “United we stand, divided we fall.” It is a true statement and our future depends on its understanding.