2,977 souls were taken from us and more than 6,000 people were injured in the coordinated attacks on the twin towers in New York, the Pentagon in Washington D.C., and a fourth plane crashed in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Our nation was changed forever that morning. The last time our country was so viciously attacked was December 7th
, 1941, when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. That too was a defining moment in our country’s history. These days will and should, live in infamy. But I miss the days that followed that horrific attack.
On the morning of September 12th, while the fires were still smoking, we as a nation used those embers to ignite a sense of unity and patriotism we had not experienced in decades. We were no longer simply Texans or New Yorkers, we were not blue collar or white collar, we were not black, white, brown, or any other color, but we were Americans! That morning, September 12th, 2001, Americans rose to a sunrise united against an enemy. We were not divided amongst ourselves, although we still had our differences, we came together as a united nation standing shoulder to shoulder against anyone who would dare attack us. You attack one, you attack us all!
When we were attacked on September 11th
, I had already been in the military for over 15 years. In those 15 years, I had experienced a great deal of camaraderie. Marines would pick on the Navy, and they would pick back, Navy would pick on the Army and visa versa. Everyone picked on the Air Force. It was good fun within and among the military branches. But, if a non-military person thought they could pick on one of the branches, we all came together to defend each other. We could pick on each other, but no one else was going to do it! You mess with one, you mess with us all. That is what I felt September 12th
. Of course we all still had our differences, but we all were Americans. And if you mess with one, you mess with us all!
I miss the camaraderie, the patriotism, strangers praying together. I miss the genuine display of the American flag, neighbors checking on each other, the sense of unity. I miss the feeling that someone had my back and I had theirs, and that no one is going to strike at one of us without the full fury of all of us. I miss the fire that burned in all of us. I miss the unified determination that is America.
We should never forget September 11th,
but we should also always remember September 12th.