10 years ago today my close friend, Lee, and I were driving from Wisconsin where we had taken ownership of an old Chris-Craft Holiday, to our homes in Florida. The radio stations saturated the airwaves with patriotic music as we sliced through our nation’s heartland. Every overpass on I-65 had an American Flag suspended from it’s railing. On some, people proudly waved flags back and forth for everyone to see. Cars and trucks passing below saluted their support with enthusiastic hand and arm gestures and sharp horn blasts.
Tears came to our eyes as we reflected on the tragedy of a year earlier – tragedy that touched the lives of every American in the most horrific way. Our country came together on that day to honor and glorify the memory of those who paid the supreme sacrifice for being Americans. Our chests swelled with pride as we saw that we were surrounded with people we didn’t know, people we would never encounter again, people who joined together in defiance of terrorism,
The fervor has cooled. The expressions of patriotism are more controlled. While that exuberance has passed, the deep sense of loss remains. We all lost something dear to us on that day eleven years ago. Perhaps it was our innocence… our naïveté. Had we put up a psychological wall to shield ourselves from the pain, no one would have been surprised. No one would have criticized us for compensating by turning cold-hearted.
That’s not what Americans do! We cried. We beat our chests in sorrow. Then, our nation buckled down and faced the task at hand with intensity and conviction. Individually, we rose to the occasion. We mustered a drive from deep inside that enabled us to push through the pain and move forward in a positive direction. The struggle has been long and hard. The human sacrifices continue to mount, but progress can be found every day.
Will our world return to a pre-9/11 blindness? Never! We stand prepared to join together to defend our homeland, to prove to the world once again that we will protect the American way of life!