It has been almost 2 decades since 19 Islamist terrorists hijacked four commercial airliners to turn them into guided missiles, four missiles with which to attack America. Those of us who watched these events play out in real-time can never un-see those horrific images.
For most of us, the impact was so consequential that, to this day, we can clearly recall the moment we first learned of this assault on us all. Perhaps you were getting ready for work and listening to live news coverage.
The first impact was at 8:45 AM Eastern, which means that Americans on both coasts heard this news as their day began. Many learned of the events during their commute, and others heard from coworkers in the office. All of America was shocked and feared what might be next. At the time, the questions were many, the answers unknown and unknowable.
America was under attack in a way that had not happened since 1812 when the British sought to overturn our revolution's results. Even in World War II, despite the successful attack on Pearl Harbor, Japan's military forces and the axis powers never reached our homeland.
In the first few hours, we knew very little in the way of details about the events or those responsible. Who had done this, and why?
Everyone from the White House to the tiniest enclave was rightfully concerned about a second wave of attacks. The country reacted in typical American fashion, a mixture of confidence and fear with a patriotic determination to seek out and defeat this dangerous foe.
America united with chants of "USA, USA," and many found their way to recruitment offices to swear their allegiance to defend America. Old political arguments and most partisan heckling gave way to unity and allegiance to our country. Ideologies took a backseat to patriotism. There will always be those in the world who despise America and covet her strength and power. Others foment conflict preaching death to America to gain or maintain power and control. Some within our borders, misguided fellow citizens, seek to remake America in their image and ideologies.
Thankfully, there will also ALWAYS be Great American Patriots ready to protect and defend our Constitutional freedoms and way of life. Countless enemies and agitators have woefully misjudged the American people's commitment and resolve; for most, an excruciating lesson.
You may remember that back in 2001, we had just come through the saga of the 2000 election with its hanging chads. At the time, it seemed impossible that we could become anymore politically divided as a nation.
That all changed on that fateful September morning in 2001. Well, maybe not all of it, but enough for our nation to unite and confront this mutual enemy. Americans of all persuasions found common ground to work together for the win.
The effort was more significant and more complicated than many thought it would be. Success would take much longer than we like and was not without its setbacks and missteps. But, we persisted and eventually prevailed over this threat to our shores, if not the world.
America is capable of anything we set our minds and commit our efforts to accomplish. As a United people, there is no greater power in the world because America is a nation of the people. We, every citizen, every patriot, are the backbone and the source of American Greatness.
Today, we face similar challenges, only this time, the attacks are from within and are in our streets. Although they hide behind it, these subversive forces and their violent actions have nothing to do with race or justice and everything to do with the lust for power.
Have these radicals made the same miscalculation about America that the 9/11 terrorists did? Do they think that patriotic Americans will allow the destruction of all we hold dear? We can only guess, but it would seem that this is the case.
But, we have seen this before.
What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun. - Ecclesiastes 1:9
The lessons of September 11 are legion and costly. It is but one of the many trials and catastrophes which America has faced and overcome throughout her history. It was not the first significant challenge, and it will most definitely not be the last, as we regularly see today. The struggles and the determination which create the American spirit and experience make our nation and our people more determined than ever to protect that which is ours; life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
As we pause to reflect on the tragedy of September 11, 2001, remember the thousands of Americans who have pledged and given their all in response. They serve to protect each of us and this magnificent country.
Consider the extraordinary strength we realize and project as a unified people. America truly is the greatest nation in the world today and will be for centuries to come with your patriotic effort.
We must never forget 9/11, the tragedy, the lessons, the great American heroes of that September day, and all heroes who bravely fought and continue the fight to defeat America's enemies.
Remember them, pray for them, and pray for America.