This weekend marks 20 years since Islamic radical terrorists flew airplanes into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon and would have flown a 4th plane into the Capitol or White House except that passengers on that plane wrestled the controls away from the hijackers and the plane went down in Shanksville, PA. 3000 innocent people were murdered in the space of a few minutes in a cowardly attack that shook the nation more powerfully than anything since Pearl Harbor. One of the reasons the events of that day are seared into the deepest recesses of our souls is that we saw it play out on live television. Some of the images, especially of desperate people jumping from the Towers to escape the fireball of the airliners exploding or the soot-covered people in business attire stumbling away from the collapsing buildings are images we can’t unsee.
We all remember exactly where we were that day and what we were doing when we saw the planes hit. Like the JFK assassination for those of us old enough to remember it, or the Challenger explosion, there are moments in our lives where an event so stunned us that time seemed to stand still and we had to catch our breath from the sheer shock of what our eyes had told us.
In the hours, days, and weeks following 9-11, America was united like I had never witnessed. Flags flew everywhere—on office buildings, residences, and cars. And no one took a knee. Members of Congress from both parties stood together on the Capitol steps and sang a hymn. Churches were filled with people praying. Young men and women put aside their studies or their lives to enlist in the military. America was at war. And we were united.
Here’s what didn’t happen. People didn’t divide among lines of race, gender, political party, or sexual identity. No sane person blamed America or systemic racism or white rage. If we really were a racist, imperialistic, evil country, surely we would have been told that by members of Congress. But we weren’t told that. Because we weren’t an evil country. And let me tell you, we aren’t an evil country now. Imperfect? Sure, but still the best place on God’s green earth.
We’ve allowed America-hating academics and outright Marxists to tell us we’re all racists. We’ve had frightened CEO’s down on their knees apologizing to total strangers for some symbolic repentance of sins they can’t even recall or name. And we’ve watched otherwise responsible corporate boards pretend to be “woke” and demand their employees get instruction in some nutty nonsense called Critical Race Theory that only serves to divide people when there is so much to unite us as people blessed by God to live in a nation where color isn’t what we’re about—character is. That’s the beautiful message from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and it’s never been more needed.
9-11 was a slap in our face and it was a rude awakening to the real evil in our world. An ideology that hates America, hates freedom, hates equality for women or people of color is the ideology that attacked us. It remains a threat to our freedom and our way of life. Ultimately, the battle we faced then and the one we still face now is a spiritual battle. Will the Judeo-Christian framework we were built upon remain our foundation, or will we surrender to a fanatic world-view that believes women are property who don’t deserve an education or identity and that killing innocent people for a political cause is okay? Instead of apologizing for America, we ought to unapologetically affirm our love for America. And no better day to do that than a day which reminds us who we really are.