Today marks 15 years since our nation was shattered by the cowardly and savage attacks on innocent civilians by Islamic jihadists who forever changed the way we live. For those of us who lived through 9/11, the nightmare still seems so fresh in our minds that it’s hard to believe there are now people of voting age who don’t have firsthand memories of it. For us non-millennials, only the Kennedy assassination comes close to having left such an indelible scar on our national psyche.
But as much as that day showcased the cowardice and animalistic behavior of the terrorists, it also showcased many extraordinarily courageous and selfless Americans. If you wonder why terrorism can hurt us but never kill us, just look to September 11th, 2001. It was one of America’s worst days. Yet in the rubble of the Twin Towers and the Pentagon and in the wreckage of United Flight 93 in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, we also saw Americans at their very best, laying down their lives for others and stepping up to fight back.
We are now engaged in one of the most divisive political campaigns in history, with much of the division stemming from how we will keep America’s homeland safe from other radical Islamists who would seek to follow in the footsteps of the 9/11 attackers. But for just one day, let’s put partisanship and division aside and come together as Americans, the way we did on September 11th, 2001, and in the days and weeks following. Let’s all of us, together, remember and say a prayer for the nearly 3,000 people who lost their lives that day, whether they were airplane passengers, workers at the Twin Towers or first responders who sacrificed their lives or their health while trying to save others. Let’s also say a prayer for the many family members who had their loved ones brutally taken away from them. Let’s all come together in rededicating ourselves to insuring nothing like it ever happens again. And let us all remember that while today is a day that will live in infamy, it will also live forever in the annals of heroism.
As we reflect on the 9/11 attacks and those we lost, let’s not dwell on the monsters who don’t deserve our attention. Let’s remember and pay tribute to the true heroes who do.