Updated: Sep 21, 2021
On that day my husband and I had been watching C-SPAN's coverage of proceedings verifying the votes of a recent Presidential election. We went and did a little grocery shopping, and when we returned to resume viewing the coverage the world was not the same. As some of you have probably already guessed, that pivotal day was 6 January 2021. Now I am not here to talk about politics but to share a few thoughts another pivotal day in America's history.
Where were you twenty years ago on the 11th of September? I was on vacation with my family in the middle of Kansas as our van had broken down the day before. As I woke up, my Dad had the TV coverage on. After a few minutes of watching the news I asked my Dad why they kept knocking down the towers.
Why do we say never forget every year? Part of it is because we don't want history to repeat itself, and the terrorist attacks to happen again. But there have been other days in America's history that have changed the world and we have not wanted to repeat them either: 12 April 1861, when Fort Sumpter was fired upon beginning the American Civil War; 7 December 1941, when Perl Harbor was bombed; and President John Fitzgerald Kennedy's assassination on 22 November 1963.
Yet, I don't think it is the terrorism only that makes us want to never forget what happened on September 11. We want to remember those citizens whom we lost on that fateful day. Every year we say their names to keep their memories alive. I think more importantly we never want to forget what happened that day because there were so many stories of kindness, virtue, and heroism.
When COVID hit the country last March (2020) we again noticed those everyday heroes and essential workers. Those whose jobs involve helping others in their community, caring for the ill and keeping the everyday duties of mail and trash going.
I have friends who are nurses and are on the front lines of the Coronavirus crises. The hardest part for me is to see them hurting as they watch people die. I am not here to talk politics or to say which perspective is the best. What I am here to do is to ask where the UNITED States of America that was visible on 9/12/2001 went? To wonder what made us lose the idea that our country is only as great as each of us work to make it?
"And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country.
My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man.
Finally, whether you are citizens of America or citizens of the world, ask of us the same high standards of strength and sacrifice which we ask of you. With a good conscience our only sure reward, with history the final judge of our deeds, let us go forth to lead the land we love, asking His blessing and His help, but knowing that here on earth God's work must truly be our own."