Parenting

Was 9/11 the Last Time Americans Were Truly United?

Muslims pray in the street for Friday prayer in the Paris suburb of Clichy la Garenne, Friday, Nov. 10, 2017. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

Do you remember where you were and what you were doing on 9/11? It’s a day that will be forever burned into the memories of every single American citizen for the rest of their days—and generations beyond.

For me it was an ordinary morning. I got up with the kids, prepared breakfast, and proceeded to get my daughter ready for preschool. It was a sunny day and we all had a spring in our step. I dropped her off, returned home and sat down in the living room with my infant son to rock him and drink my morning coffee. I turned on the television just as it was being reported that a plane had apparently hit one of the World Trade Center buildings. I thought to myself that it must have been a terrible accident. Maybe the pilot was high on something or there had been a malfunction.

Not long after, the second plane hit. I immediately knew that this was no accident and the word terrorism crossed my lips. There were all kinds of reports coming in about other planes that had been taken over, one of which may have been turning around over Cleveland. I felt a panic like I have never felt before. Were all of the cities going to be under attack? Were more coming? I called my husband, who was out of town at the time, to make sure he was ok. We talked about what to do and where we would go if we needed to leave. I then quickly put my son into the car and raced to the preschool to get my daughter. When I arrived, none of the teachers had heard what was happening. The looks of surprise turned to concerned panic as they began calling each family, one by one, to come for their children.

I returned home and neighbors who were outside made their way into my living room to offer comfort and try to make sense of what was happening. Everyone’s consensus was that it was terrorism. Who did this and how could this have happened on our soil? For the next few weeks we lived on pins and needles. We had no idea if there were going to be more attacks coming and where they would be.

We watched the devastation and rescue efforts day after day, with people looking for their loved ones who were at the towers that day for some reason or another. Seeing people hurling themselves out of windows because they had to make the choice between either burning to death or dying by landing on concrete was devastating. We watched, helpless, as our loved ones and fellow citizens suffered and perished at the hands of what we would eventually find out were Islamic radicals.

Our country came together though, led by the amazing President Bush. I wouldn’t have wanted anyone else leading us through some of our darkest hours. He was brave, steadfast, and took control of the situation. He showed emotions, as tears flowed down his face, mourning alongside his people. He loved our country and he loved us. I will always love him forever in my heart for his leadership.

Let me ask this question. Have we forgotten what we are fighting against? I believe the last time we were united as Americans was on 9/11 and the weeks just after. We could feel it everywhere we went. American flags lined our streets, we hugged strangers, and candles burned in our window panes in solidarity. We mourned together, united as Americans. No black or white, Democrat or Republican, but Americans. We must never forget that every day there are radical Islamists who want to kill us—right now as we speak, not just once a year on an anniversary. This election cycle has been divisive and vile and we must remember that at the end of the day we are still “We the people” regardless of our politics. Love your neighbor and be kind to one another, for we are all in this together. Pray and pray hard.

We will never forget. With the 15-year anniversary of 9/11, my prayers and heart will be with those who lost their loved ones on that day. May God bless them and our beloved United States of America today and always.