September 11, 2001, was America’s modern day Pearl Harbor.
Once again, an enemy attacked without an official warning, this time striking at our battleships of finance and government. They succeeded in taking nearly 3000 lives and impacting millions of others.
But despite the sorrow and shock, America found a beacon of hope that very day. United flight 93 was hijacked by terrorists and approaching a probable target in Washington, DC. The passengers and crew mounted a counterattack inside which caused the plane to crash in Pennsylvania, killing all on board. It was a shining candle of courage and will, flickering brightly among the dark clouds billowing from New York and Washington.
9-11 created a period of American unity rarely seen before or since. It reminded us that we are capable of coming together for a just cause, that we don’t always have to argue over less important matters. It showed us that ordinary Americans can make a difference, and that by working together, we can accomplish what seems impossible.
Today marks the tenth anniversary of that awful day. We have not forgotten the pain, but much of the unity has dissipated over time. We see our children reading names of the 9-11 dead on national television while politicians continue to burden those same children with a growing national debt. We can achieve unity in death, but remain bitterly divided over the issues of life.
America must once again reach for unity, this time to heal our way of life and not merely comfort our sorrow. We cannot afford to build another memorial ten years from now to the former United States of America.