I remember that day as if it were yesterday. I was working from home when I got a call from my wife (now, ex-wife). She was frantic, yelling at me to turn on the television. In less than a minute, I was stunned to silence – not an easy task for me. Then, I was overwhelmed with concern for friends I knew were in one of the buildings, and elsewhere on Wall Street. Later, when the Pentagon was hit, I worried about my brother-in-law. I have snippets of memory from the next two days, but they’re very scattered. Like most Americans, I was so deep in shock I didn’t really know what to think.
I lost friends. I still feel the loss. But there’s a loss that, to me, is even greater. We didn’t lose it that day. In fact, on that day we gained the very thing I miss. You see, for a short time after that horrific event, we stood as One. We were the ultimate demonstration of E Pluribus Unum – From many, one. We stood together. We were united in a way we hadn’t been for many years.
We weren’t Left or Right. We weren’t Republican or Democrat. We weren’t black or white or red or brown or yellow. We weren’t Gay or Straight, not urban or rural, not Christian, Jewish, Muslim or Buddhist, not young or old. We were Americans!
We didn’t just work “across” the divide. We filled the divide and marched and stood together. We opened our hearts to those in need, and we championed our heroes.
Today, as we look back thirteen years to that day, that horrible, senseless, frightful day, we will remember. But will we remember what’s most important? Will we remember what it was like to stand together as one nation, indivisible? We will remember what it is really like to be American?
To all of you reading, I ask two things:
Then, let us all do it again!
Let us stand together, setting aside our differences in favor of our similarities. Let us set aside our hatred for The Other. Let us work together again, seeking consensus and compromise to solve our many problems. Let us remember that we all bleed red, we all want the same things for our children, and for our society. And, most of all, let us remember the great things we can accomplish. Together.
All I ask: Remember, and do it again!