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9/11 – For A Brief Moment, We Were All Just Americans

September 11, 2011

September 11th 2001, September 11th 2011, 9/11 ten years later, remembering the victims of 9/11, New York terrorism, World Trade Center destruction, Terrorist attacks on WTC, The collapse of the World Trade Center I’ve written about 9/11 over the years, where I was, what I was doing and how the events of the day overshadowed my own hell I was facing, if only for a while. I’m not going to rewrite that piece nor do I want to highlight that 9/11 memory in the Tribal Blogs 9/11 Tribute I am participating in.

It’s been ten years from that horrible day in September and at times it feels like it was yesterday. I can pull up the emotions I was feeling, the ones that are still so raw, very easily. I can recall the smells of that fall day, the sounds, or lack of sounds since the planes had been grounded, even what I was wearing. The day is burned in my memory even though it blurred into many days as I sat transfixed to the TV trying to make sense of all the horror.

I don’t want to write about that day for many reasons but mainly because I want to move on. I want to focus on the positive instead of the negative, and that day, while horrible, was filled with heroic moments. The months that followed 9/11 changed us all for the better, briefly.

September 11th 2001, September 11th 2011, 9/11 ten years later, remembering the victims of 9/11, New York terrorism, World Trade Center destruction, Terrorist attacks on WTC, The collapse of the World Trade Center. 9/11 changed us in many ways; if you didn’t have a cell phone before the attacks you had one after them, we found our American flags and flew them proudly, we stuck magnets on our cars. For a while, at least, we didn’t distinguish ourselves by race, gender, sexual identity, political party, or nationality, we were all just Americans.

I can’t remember when it stopped, but it did. We are no longer just Americans, we are Democrats or Republicans clinging to ideologies that have no room for compromise or even understanding. We’ve become dogmatic about our beliefs and damn anyone who doesn’t hold the same ones. The people who hold different beliefs from our own are racist, stupid and Nazis.

I don’t know when it happened but sometime in the last ten years someone drew a line in the sand and we all took sides. Blindly for the most part.

I’m still horrified by the events of that day but I remember thinking we had learned something from it, as a country. We had learned, again, what it was to be proud of our heritage, that we were a melting pot of so many different nationalities, religions and beliefs. That we were different, and that was what made us Americans.

I’d like to get those feelings back, I’d like for us to be proud to be Americans again.

I get mad when I think about this; how petty we have become in the last ten years. How we use the anonymity of the internet to call people who don’t hold the same beliefs names that are foul. How easily we can become angered by our politicians and President, and how they don’t seem to see themselves contributing to the problem.

September 11th 2001, September 11th 2011, 9/11 ten years later, remembering the victims of 9/11, New York terrorism, World Trade Center destruction, Terrorist attacks on WTC, The collapse of the World Trade Center, statue of liberty American Flag, Images of Americans, what it means to be American, American Images, American Symbols

We are Americans, we should be proud of who we are and what we represent. We, by virtue of nothing more than birth, are born in the best nation on this planet. We have forgotten how utterly lucky we are. We have lost our humility and in that process we have become arrogant and cruel.

No wonder people want to fly our planes into our buildings.

We are like children who don’t understand how good we have it and can only complain about the things we don’t have. Yeah, our economy sucks right now but we still have the ability to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps and make something of ourselves.

We have to stop calling each other names, we have to take pride in the work we do and the good works we do, again. We have to help one another and we have to stop expecting the politicians to solve our problems. It’s time to take back our country, be proud of who we are and that our best days are still ahead of us, if we stop hating on each other.

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  • “For a while, at least, we didn’t distinguish ourselves by race, gender,
    sexual identity, political party, or nationality, we were all just
    Americans.”

    I also saw hope in the images of the following weeks, a reappearance
    of the national spirit that has carried us through crises before, a
    spirit that had too often been lost. 

    That’s what I’d like to remember INSTEAD. And it sure would be nice to have that back again.

     

  • Well said, Jen. Well said.

  • I don’t know why this is, but it never occurred to me to look at this in a positive light. It’s so mired in tragedy that tragedy is all I can see in this event.

  • Blog Rehab

    I agree. Politics has become so bitter (I guess it always has been) in the last few years. I was listening to Bush and Clinton speak at the Flight 93 memorial service in Pennsylvania on the 9/10/11 and it was a shock to hear that Clinton and John Boehner would co-chair a bipartisan fundraise to build a permanent memorial to the victims. It brought back all the memories to hear both former presidents talk about the bravery of the victims who took down the hijackers. How quickly they had to make that decision and act on it, the selflessness and certainty that they would die, and saving not only the people in Washington, but keeping Al Queada from having the symbolic victory of smashing into our capitol or White House. I had chills and tears as I listened in the car. Couldn’t watch or read any coverage of the memorials after that. 

  • I was having this conversation with Mo yesterday, while watching the ceremony for the British that were lost in the 9/11 disaster.

    It takes a real disaster for us to become one as a country.  It happened to Britain during and after the war.  Everybody helping each other in the really tough times.  All working together to build the country up again.  Then we get ‘comfortable’ and that’s when the petty squabbles start up again. Before we realize it, we are back to fighting amongst ourselves and being selfish, greedy and hateful.  You could say that it’s because the next generation has no memories of the disaster to draw on.  Most people have no memories of the WW2 or the after effects now, but it’s only been 10 years since 9/11 so that isn’t the case here.  Maybe New Yorkers are still pulling together?

  • It is a shame that it takes a disaster to restore our pride in ourselves and pull together as one.  American pride should be a way of life, not just brought out of the closet like an overcoat to be put on during a crisis.

  • Joe Wyzard

    just a huge conspiracy that ALL American’s have been sucked into believing, your own government did this to you, not some brainless terrorists who dont have the knowledge to pull this off, look at Bin Ladens lair, so low tech…… you need the resources of a government to pull this off.
    truthseeker222@gmail.com and yes, i am being watched by the FBI [Fuckin Brainless Idiots]  

  • Robertteix

    Please watch this 9/11 tribute and rememberhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NnDyfgoKkEg

  • Robertteix

    Please watch this 9/11 tribute and rememberhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NnDyfgoKkEg

  • Robertteix

    Please watch this 9/11 tribute and rememberhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NnDyfgoKkEg

  • Robertteix

    Please watch this 9/11 tribute and remember. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NnDyfgoKkEg

  • Awesome article Jen –  I can’t remember when I stopped being proud to be American.  The arrogance and stupidity of the American government is beyond embarrassing.  It’s like having a smart ass child that says and does stupid things and you always feel like you have to apologize for them.  

  • Seems crazy to me that I should stumble across your blog the day after I met a Native American girl who talked about her distaste and disappointment of the annual cycle of remembrance which she feels detracts from the people that actually died and the families that are still suffering.

    I am glad I read this article. I thank you for writing it.

  • “For a moment we were all just Americans”
    Well said but that moment is alive today though the work of the 9/11 Patch Project.  The project’s 9/11 Uniform Patches and Decals are now on the uniformed sleeves of firefighters, paramedics, police officers and U.S. soldiers of over 8000 organizations in 25 countries. Funds raised from the sale of the patches and decals have benefited the NYC Bravest Scholarship Fund, the Terry Farrel Fund and the Feal Good Foundation. http://9-11patchproject.org