Tag Archive | "remembering 9/11"

11 Past 911

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Eleven years after, I still remember that fateful morning as if it were yesterday.  Much like today, it was a sunny Tuesday morning in the Metropolitan New York area.  But, that particular morning, the sunshine belied what would become – along with December 7, 1941 – an infamous date on the American calendar.

 

Informed that a plane had struck one of the World Trade Center towers, I tuned into the morning news just as a large jetliner made its kamikaze run into the other tower.  Awestruck, I heard the news just moments later of the attack on the Pentagon by yet another hijacked airliner and shortly thereafter of a plane crash in Pennsylvania, the cause of which was as yet unknown but would later be revealed as an act of heroism on the part of its passengers – preventing yet another prong of this carefully planned and orchestrated terrorist campaign against America.

 

I witnessed a President who appeared frightened and dazed and a Mayor whose career in public service reached, perhaps, its pinnacle in those tense hours and days following the attacks.  I observed the heroism of teams of police, firefighting, and emergency medical personnel, as well as the many first responders, ironworkers, and others who poured into the world’s greatest City in the days and weeks that would follow.

 

What I remember best about that day, however, was not the unmitigated evil of the foreign terrorists, but the love and unselfishness displayed by Americans of all walks of life, of every race, creed, and socioeconomic level.  It was a day when barriers were broken and lifetime bonds were forged, when each of us was given pause to shift our individual focus from ourselves to our neighbors, and when the resilience and generosity of the uniquely American spirit was on display for the world to witness.

 

As we commemorate the tragic events of September 11, 2001 and remember its victims from the World Trade Center towers, to the Pentagon, to the fields of Pennsylvania, let us also never forget our response, our unity of purpose, and our cooperation across political, social, and cultural divisions.  With God’s grace, we can muster the same levels of unity and cooperation in surmounting our future challenges, so that America – as it has for more than 200 years – will remain a beacon of hope to those from every land who seek freedom and opportunity.

 

Related Posts:

 

In the Name of God

 

Beyond 9/11: Portraits of Resilience

 

Remembering 9/11

 

 

 

 

 

Remembering 9/11

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How time flies!  It was nine years ago that the most significant foreign attack on American soil occurred since the Revolutionary War, and with it came the sorrow, tears, anger, and ultimately fortitude of the American people.

 

As the second unprovoked attack on America in our nation’s history, the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center and Pentagon on September 11, 2001 is another day in American history that will live in infamy, much like the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on some sixty years earlier.  The events of 9/11/2001 left Americans stunned and saddened.  In the days following, as Americans watched the story play out on their television screens, shock turned to resolve to avenge the loss of life and bring to justice those responsible for the cowardly attack.

 

By the very next day, September 12, 2001, there were not enough flags available to meet the demand of Americans wishing to express their patriotism and solidarity with the families of those who had lost loved ones as a result of the attacks.  Inadvertently, our enemies had awoken a sleeping giant and given a purpose to a President and a Presidency that had struggled to find its voice and message in the early months of its Administration.

 

Suddenly, America was at war with radical Islam whose purpose it was to intimidate America and its allies around the world.  Revered as martyrs and patriots, the 9/11 perpetrators were celebrated in the Muslim world.  Yet, the leaders of Al Qaeda and other radical groups soon discovered and realize to this day that a united America would be tireless in exacting its justifiable retribution.

 

It is said that “time heals all wounds,” and nine years later, many Americans do not feel the same emotion as we did on that fateful day.  Yet, with the images etched in our minds and hearts, we will never forget.

 

September 11, 2010 finds America debating a new dilemma:  the intention of the Church of Islam to build a large mosque and cultural center near ground zero. This has created a firestorm of protest by families and loved ones of victims and first responders lost in the holocaust of 9/11.

 

America is a country that prides itself on freedom of religion.  Yet, there comes a time when all Americans, regardless of religious affiliation, should heed and consider the true meaning of the words of President John F. Kennedy when he said, “Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.”

 

Americans, for the most part, have no qualms about building mosques – or any other religious structures for that matter – on American soil.  Nor do they blame all followers of Islam for the heinous attacks.  Many do, however, consider the land near ground zero to be hallowed ground and do not wish construction of a structure that might be construed as a shrine to the perpetrators of the attacks.

 

If Islamic Americans and the Islamic world in general want to build a bridge of mutual respect with the rest of humanity, perhaps it should start here.  Then, we might all have hope of peace on earth to men of good will.

 

Related Posts:

 

In the Name of God

 

Beyond 9/11: Portraits of Resilience

 

11 Paste 911

 

 

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