Since this is my last post of the week and I don't plan on making a post on Sunday to coincide with the actual date of the 10-year "anniversary" of the Pearl Harbor of the 21st century, I'm going to talk about 9/11 today.
By now, I felt numb. I had just seen 4 separate airline disasters carried out intentionally by a yet-unknown terrorist organization and there was no way of knowing whether this was it or not. News agencies were speculating, military jets were scrambling, the country was frozen in time, waiting for some sense of what was going on, what to do next.
And then, nothing.
This fourth crash would be the last. While it was thankfully unsuccessful in it's intent of taking out the white house, the other 3 attacks had done their job. The Pentagon was apparently tougher than the hijackers had bargained for, it suffered relatively minor damage and low casualties. As for the Twin Towers, though, the damage was devastating.
But it was also a reminder of something else. Something incredible and inspiring.
Osama Bin Laden said that the goal of Al Qaeda in orchestrating the 9/11 attacks was to destabilize our country and bankrupt our economy. He wanted to turn America against itself and create political and economic chaos. Over the next 10 years, Bin Laden would get to see his goal come very close to fruition.
10 years later and America is mired in recession. 10 years later and America is more ideologically divided than we have been since the Vietnam War. 10 years later and we have done an almost complete 180 from the "United we stand" mentality that brought our nation together in the aftermath of those attacks and unified us as a country determined to seek justice for the victims and their families. 10 years later and the heroic first-responders who risked everything to save innocent lives are still suffering the effects of that day and languishing in desperate need of medical care that they aren't being provided.
Fortunately, President Obama approved the mission that ultimately insured that Osama Bin Laden will never get to see if his plan is truly successful or not. The man who orchestrated the worst domestic terror attack in our nation's history is shark bait in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean with half his head blown off.
However, we still have heroes in the middle east, making the ultimate sacrifice every day for a war that doesn't need to be fought. We still have heroes in hospitals or suffering in their homes because the government that owes them everything for their brave actions on 9/11 can't get their act together enough to agree to provide them with the basic and essential health care they need and rightfully deserve as American heroes. Our country still suffers through recession, record unemployment and a destabilized economy. Our nation is divided, our government is divided. Al Qaeda's goal is as close to realization as it's ever been and it's as if no one is even paying attention anymore.
If we don't bring our soldiers home. If we don't take care of our first-responders in a manner befitting their heroism. If we don't come together as a nation once again. If we don't work together as one nation, under God, indivisible, to put our country back on track and get our house in order. If we don't do the basic and essential things demanded of us by our sworn allegiance as American citizens to get back on our feet and move forward as a republic again, then 10 years after 9/11, the terrorists may win after all.
I hate to even say it, I hate to even think it, but the evidence is clear. We are a nation that is divided, destabilized, demoralized and financially weakened. We are a nation that has moved from "One nation, under God, indivisible" to a nation divided against itself. The definition of "patriotism" has changed from a collective pride in our country and each other to a collective distrust of our government and our neighbors.
9/11 did change everything... for the worse. It's up to all of us to decide whether we continue down the path to fulfilling the terrorists plan to divide and destroy America or do we finally come together again as one nation, one people, one republic and stand shoulder to shoulder with our fellow Americans to dig ourselves out of this hole we've spent the last 10 years digging ourselves into. It's not about politics, it's about patriotism, true patriotism. It's about putting the greater good of the country over our own selfishness. It's about those who can stepping up and following the examples set by those brave men and women who rushed into those burning towers 10 years ago. Following the examples set every day by the brave men and women who leave their families and loved ones and travel into hostile territory to fight and die for America not because they were forced to, but because they volunteered to do it. It's time for our government to put petty politics aside and come together for the sake of our country and our people and do what needs to be done to get our country back on track and back on the path to a healthy and prosperous future - not because it's popular or easy, but because it's the right thing to do.
It's time to bring back real patriotism in America again. It's time to restore America to her rightful glory and make her a country that is once again the beacon of hope, opportunity and freedom to the rest of the world.
10 years later, it's time we learned the lessons of 9/11, lest we doom ourselves to repeat them.