Today is 9/11/16. Fifteen years after the terrorist ripped out the heart of the American people.
I reflect today on what the legacy of 9/11 is.
We have killed Bin Laden. We have taken the war to the terrorist in the Middle East. We have captured and killed thousands of our enemies. But have we won?
The United States is more divided now, than it has been in many years. This can be traced directly back to 9/11.
We have NFL players sitting during the National Anthem as a protest. We talk of building walls to protect our borders against a people who are part of the very fabric of our country. We talk of banning people of the Muslim faith, associating them with those who perpetrated 9/11. We have riots and shoot police officers for the actions of a few.
We seem to have lost the ability to identify an individual and only look at people as a race or a religion. We project the acts of a few individuals onto entire populations. We see only color or only faith and not the person. Muslims and Blacks and Hispanics and Asians and Gays and Whites and Police Officers and Firefighters ALL gave their lives in the towers on 9/11. Muslims and Blacks and Hispanics and Asians and Gay AMERICANS all sacrificed their lives in the Middle East fighting back against 9/11.
What is the legacy of 9/11. It is that in trying to remember, we forgot. We forgot what it was like on 9/12 and 9/13. Immediately after 9/11 I saw a country undivided, standing together with tolerance and acceptance of ALL Americans. We were all Americans that day. I remember commenting how badly the terrorist had lost. How their actions had brought everyone together and made this country stronger. They had lost in those days immediately following 9/11.
But now I must ask myself if they won. In trying to never forget 9/11, we have forgotten the one positive thing that came out of that day. We forgot the strength we felt united as one Nation. We forgot the acceptance and kindness that showed to the world how great America truly is. We forgot that the terrorist did not discriminate. They killed Americans, of every color, religion and life style. We forgot that we stood together as survivors, as the victims died together.
If we continue down this path the terrorist have won. Not because we have given up some liberties in the name of protection, Not that we have made traveled a hassle. We have lost because we are a weaker country, divided and un-trusting of the world around us.
I understand the fears and emotions of those who stand firm in these beliefs. I understand those who have personally suffered loss and want to place blame. What I do not understand is the rest of us, not personally experiencing a loss, out of fear, casting blame on groups for individual actions. People do bad things, not religions or races.
If America is to win against the terrorist we must find a way to recapture those feelings on 9/12. Look at individuals as people and not as groups. We must come together as a Nation of diversity that is stronger for it. We must look to others across the globe as people. People that face many of the same challenges as us and understand. Accepting of our differences and embracing that which is in common.
The Statue of Liberty is a proud symbol of America. It is the beacon that has guided so many to America both physically and figuratively. It’s time that we all look to Lady Liberty and that which has made this nation great. United We Stand, Divided We Fall