In A Divided America, We Can Come Together On 9/11 [OPINION]
22 years. For many, it feels like just yesterday. For others, and admittedly myself, the day seems like a dark, distant memory. We all deal with tragedies in different ways. But the memory of 9/11 isn't just about tragedy and loss. It is also about hope and unity.
I have worked on the K-HAWK morning show for nearly 25 years. No day will ever equal the one that we experienced 22 years ago today. The shocking events that unfolded before our eyes. The catastrophic loss of life. I remember going on the air and reporting events as they were happening and feeling almost helpless. The numbers were staggering. After working all morning and into the afternoon I remember going home and sitting shell-shocked in my living room, watching images on TV that we never thought we'd see in America.
But soon the sadness and anger of what happened turned into solidarity. Everyone began to ask, "How can I help?" We began to donate. Our money. Even our blood. All to help people we'd never met. To help our fellow Americans. And while the smoke from the towers might have stung our eyes and burnt our lungs, it also covered up any hint of division in our country. We were no longer liberals and conservatives, Democrats and Republicans. We were Americans. We'd seen tough times before and survived. 9/11 would be no different.
But eventually, the overwhelming feelings of goodwill towards our fellow man faded. We slipped back into the old habit of partisanship. And in the past few years, it has only gotten worse. Neither side is absent of guilt. I too have fed the fire in my spoken and written words. But if there is a moment in time when we can all drop our defenses and come together as a nation again, it should be 9/11.
I was 26 years old on the day of the attacks. I now type these words of the precipice of my 49th birthday. 22 years after 9/11, here is what I know to be true. Our police officers, firefighters, and other first responders are heroes in our communities. They should be treated with the utmost respect and honored whenever possible. I have also come to believe that we, as Americans, are far more in agreement on things than many would like you to believe. The bitter divisiveness in our country needs to be healed, so we may look at each other the way we did shortly after 9/11. Not citizens of a red state, or a blue state. Citizens of the United States.
God bless the memory of those lost on 9/11, and all those who serve and protect us.