9/11 – A Time to Grieve

Eleven years ago, we were attacked on our home soil. Eleven years ago, thousands of innocent Americans lost their lives. Eleven years ago, as the world changed, we as Americans were all united in our shared horror and grief at the tragedy that had struck us.

That was eleven years ago, and as we return again to another anniversary of September 11, 2001, there are multiple reasons to grieve. We must grieve for the loss of life. We must remember and honor those that sacrificed themselves. We must not forget those that still must deal with the injuries and diseases that they suffered that day.

We must do all those things, but we must also grieve for something else that has been lost in these eleven years.

After September 11, 2001, our national spirit was united. We were together in honoring the victims. We flew flags from our houses and cars. We wore America’s colors proudly and confidently. We were not a nation that could be ripped apart by death and destruction; we were a people that could unite together in a time of chaos and pain.

We began singing “God Bless America” at baseball games. In February 2002, only 5 months after the WTC came crashing down, we cheered on the Patriots when they won an improbable victory over the highly favored Rams, seeing somehow ourselves and our nation in their win. Like them, we had faced agony; we had faced near defeat. Yet, we weren’t going to just roll over. We weren’t going to let the tragedy define us. We were going to show the world that America could take a punch and come back even stronger than we were before.

Eleven years later, as we remember the tragedy that struck us on that September morning, we have a new reason to grieve. On September 11, 2012, we are a country divided. Looking around, it is harder and harder to find the indomitable American spirit that we all once felt such a short time ago.

Now, it is Republicans versus Democrats. The poor versus the rich. Women versus men. The upcoming presidential election is slated to be the most divisive and negative yet. Congress’ approval rating is at 10%. The list goes on and on.

What happened? How did we lose our way? The answers to these questions are myriad and varied. And whatever cause we attribute to it, the effect remains the same: the patriotism and American spirit that unified us after September 11, 2001 is gone. It is a distant memory, and as things stand right now, the only thing we can do is hope that it can be reclaimed again.