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– By G. Miller Thompson –
“These acts shatter steel, but they cannot dent the steel of American resolve.” President George W. Bush spoke these inspirational words from Washington on September 11, 2001. This day shook the foundations of freedom in America and around the world. Al-Qaeda operatives posed a significant threat to the United States. Nevertheless, the people of this great nation united as they always have in times of need and overcame the devastation.
September 11, 2001, is a defining day in American history. While Left and Right rarely seem to agree, the People joined hands. Our nation looked into the face of evil and vowed justice to be served. In our weakest moment, our resolve was unshaken.
The events that unfolded on 9/11 were disastrous; however, the nation’s response to the crisis gives me great encouragement. News headlines often depress us and discourage civic engagement. Violence and corruption stain the pages of newspapers from coast to coast. But 9/11 was different. This day brought us together in a way that few events have ever been able to.
While we mourn the lives of those lost to the enemy, we celebrate the courage and resiliency of the volunteers who cleaned up the massive piles of rubble. While we lost iconic buildings, courageous citizens saved another including hundreds of innocent lives.
In regard to that last point, we owe a great debt to the passengers on United Airlines Flight 93. Forty-four individuals boarded the plane as strangers, but perished as heroes. After being overtaken by a team of terrorists, the plane took aim at the Capitol. The flight’s passengers scrambled to make calls to loved ones, unaware of the tragedy that had befallen New York City. Through those calls they pieced together the morning’s chaos and learned their fate.
Death did not scare them. These individuals knew they had to act. They devised a plan and attacked their hijackers. They foiled the terrorists’ plan. They sacrificed their lives in order to save many others. This is the American resolve President Bush spoke about.
As we remember the legacy of those who were lost that Tuesday morning, we tip our hats to the volunteers and firemen and medical responders. We will always mourn, but we must not dwell on the negative. Americans are a resilient people. We stood ourselves up and dusted ourselves off and pressed on. This day in history will forever define us. This day is one that reminded that world that America is not easily defeated. No matter the circumstances, we will never give up.
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May God bless the families of those heroes, and may God forever bless the United States of America.