After the tragedy of September 11, 2001, America was a country in mourning. We suffered a great loss and fear took hold of our nation. Our world stood still for a moment and now we are forever left with the unforgettable memory of that day in our lifetime. However, in the midst of recovering from that tragedy there was a wonderful phenomenon that took place in our country.
Neighborhoods were lined with American flags. Yellow ribbons were tied around trees and doors to show a sentiment of memory and loss. The American Anthem and The Pledge of Allegiance were both sung and spoken at college and national football games while patriotic symbols waved amidst the crowds. Right hands were boldly pressed across the chests of those who wanted to honor the dead and salute the American spirit.
There was a patriotic fever that spread across this country. “God Bless America” was captioned over magazine covers and newspaper titles. Heroes emerged from the tragedy and fire fighters and first responders were respected for their bravery both the fallen and those that survived.
We became a nation united and freedom took on a whole new meaning. Political parties, religions, races and cultures were linked together by a common thread of patriotic pride. Our liberty and way of life was attacked but as citizens we seemed resolved to unite together and cherish our Constitutional freedom and this land that we loved.
Time heals all wounds but twelve years later it also seems to erase the memory of that patriotism that we as citizens experienced after 9/11. Tragedy always brings reflection but it can also bring about division. Psychologists warn about the dangers of resentment and separation after a tragedy in a family. There are many times that fear becomes the greatest victor amidst a tragic experience. Have we as a nation let fear be the driving force in America?
In many ways, we are still that nation fearless and proud to stand on “Liberty and Justice for All”. However, over these past twelve years it’s important to look at all the ways we have changed because of those cowardice men who attacked our freedom and our way of life. It seems as if that tragedy took more than innocent lives that day. It changed us as a society and now unity and patriotism are divided by partisan politics and American resentment.
So, for me, the memory of September 11th is more than just the tragedy we experienced as a nation. It is also the remembrance of a time that we as Americans were united and proud of our country. Where patriotism was displayed freely and proudly. A phenomenon in which I wonder if I will ever experience again.