On the Eve of Independence Day 2009
Our Nation's history had begun a bit more than 225 years earlier, but for us all, time stopped at 8:46am Eastern time on September 11, 2001 when American Flight 11 hit the North Tower. I measure time now in the days and weeks and months since that moment, and cannot keep the tears from my eyes when I think of that moment or hear our National Anthem or other patriotic hymns. Those moments, from the shut down of the bridges and tunnels in NY City at 9:21am, to the collapse of the South Tower at 9:50am followed by the North Tower only 39 minutes later are a mark of time. My emotions still race when I remember those moments in time.
Right after the attacks, leading to the Joint Session of Congress, to the bi-partisan gathering on the steps of the Capitol Building, to the National Prayer Service on September 14th we thought, felt and acted as one unified body of citizens.
What happened? The passage of time has brought partisanship back. While I am troubled by policy, action and statements, we all need to remember who we are. Tonight, we should remember that we are "Americans, all." We are not Black or White, Jewish or Christian or Muslim or Bhuddist or Hindu or atheist. We are "Americans, all." From the beginning of our Nation's history, brave men and women have died and made life's sacrifices to preserve the very freedoms that enable us to outwardly disagree with our Government and our fellow citizens. Watch the videos of the post-election aftermath in Iran for the stark contrast.
If we forget that...if we lose sight of that, then we are doomed. Yes, we are doomed, because the terrorist attacks will have split us apart. The lack of an attack on American soil is no sign of safety. Contrary, it is more likely a sign of diligence and the fact that we are on guard (en garde?) for the potential or the inevitability of another attack. It won't take much.
In the meantime, for myself, my family and my friends and colleagues (if I may be so presumptuous), God Bless America, our troops, our Government and most of all, our people and our great country.