A September 12th America

By EMILY JACKSON,

The latter part of last week was  spent putting together the 9/11 tribute pages you will see a few pages over. As I designed and laid out the pages, I looked through a few quotes hoping to find one to use on the page. I finally settled on one from former President George W. Bush that I think fit nicely as a tribute to that dreadful day. Quote after quote so many memories ran through my head from that day in 2001.

I remember when it all happened. I was in fifth grade and that morning had started like any other. Someone came to the door and called our teacher to the hall so I began to talk with my desk neighbors. My teacher then flung the door open and we hurriedly quieted as if she didn’t know we had been talking. I remember the look on her face. I thought we were in trouble for being too loud, but without saying anything to us she ran over to her computer and before long it was hooked to the TV in our classroom showing the horror that was unfolding.

We watched news reports as smoke escaped from the buildings filling, then turning the sky a gloomy gray. Mass chaos filled the streets as Americans ran past the news reporters looking for safety. People were jumping from those buildings as it was there only chance to get out. To catch fifth graders attention and keep it over a long period of time can be hard, but none of us made a peep we all just stared at the TV in disbelief.

I don’t remember how long we watched, but when the TV was finally shut off our teacher answered our questions as best as she could. My little world was shattered. I could not believe this had happened here on American soil. The same soil many men in my family that came before me had fought so hard to protect. I was disgusted, but feared for what lie ahead.

September 12, 2001 was a beautiful day of unity in America. Through all of the loss and pain Americans ban together as we should. There was no race, no wealth status, you were just American and that was good enough. We hurt for the Americans lost, we hurt for the families that lost their loved ones, and we all anticipated our next step. I remember the pride I felt to be an American. That is when I first realized how strong our nation was.

I say was because America is still strong and I am very proud to still be apart of this nation, but we have strayed far from the America of September 12, 2001. Mass shootings make the headlines at least once a week, and most Americans legally carry in fear of being in that situation. There is a divide sometimes racially, sometimes by wealth class, sometimes by beliefs, or even sometimes just by political association. That is when we forget the bigger picture. No matter what label you give yourself or who you associate yourself with inside this county there is one label we all share and should wear proudly and that is American.

Since then it has been said that America will be destroyed from within and with so much going on here today, I often wonder just who is here working on that. Even Ariel Durant long before quoted “A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself from within.”

So, I keep tab of the news and stay up to date on the current situations and state of our country. Some nights the news sickens me, but I watch and pray for the America of September 12, 2001 where it only mattered that you were American. A time when we poured love into our brothers and sisters. I hope one day we can return to that kind of nation, but I pray it does not take another September 11th to make that happen.