Everyone remembers September 11, 2001, a day that will live on in infamy. Everyone remembers the fateful day two hijacked planes crashed into the twin towers, how the buildings went up in smoke and crumbled to the ground. The heartbreaking stories of the 3,000 people that died that day will never leave our minds. Even the recent generations, the ones that weren’t alive for the tragedy, have been taught from a young age about just what happened that sunny September day and what America lost.
Everyone remembers that day, but not as many remember the next day. On September 12, the nation rallied against a common enemy. It was America vs the terrorists. There was no fighting because we were all the same – you were American and that was all that mattered. Citizens of all different races, religions, and sexualities came together and consoled each other. People tattooed stars and stripes on their bodies, flags rose up everywhere and stores ran out of stars and stripes. Millions donated blood, and thousands enlisted. On the evening of the tragedy, 150 members of congress stood shoulder-to-shoulder and sang god bless America on the capitol steps. The country came together like only one time before, after Pearl Harbor.
“On September 12, 2001, we were a united country. We were all in shock. Everything had changed overnight. We all had one cause – there was no fighting or dissension or political angst. The whole country was proud to be American. In the months to follow, you got a free flag every time you bought a car. All you could see anywhere was red, white and blue. Everything had the flag on it. I remember that day vividly – it was like overnight we became one country.” Said name, who remembers the accident like it was yesterday.
Sadly, that patriotism didn’t last forever. “It’s so different, now. We’re polar opposites. Some people today are embarrassed to be American. That patriotisms just isn’t there anymore.”
Today, the United States is as far from United as it has ever been. Citizens fight over everything, from politics to gun control. No one is nice to anyone else just because they are a living, breathing American. We can’t forget the valuable lesson we were taught on that tragic day. In order to honor 9/11, we need to remember 9/12.