On Tuesday, September 11, 2001 the United States of America was attacked and just hours after the greatest attack in modern history had occurred Americans came together of all races, religions, and nationalities to honor and help not only those killed during the attack but also the first responders who were still working tirelessly to save any person that might have been alive in the wreckage. That was fifteen years ago this Sunday, September 11. Sixteen years have passed since I learned what true evil was, 16 years have passed since the first attack of the war on terror occurred, and last year for the first time high school freshmen learned about the horrific and historic moment in time as a true historical event that occurred before they were even born.
How far has America fell since those twin towers were hit and collapsed to the ground below? Just 16 years ago, Americans were all coming together to honor and fight for each other. It did not matter what race the victims were, it did not matter what religion the attackers were, and it did not matter who the first responders saved first. These were little issues, the big picture was what all Americans seen, and the big picture was 2,996 people were killed in the 9/11 attacks. Were they all Americans? It did not matter because they were innocent no matter where they were from and that was all the American people cared about. The big picture was that first responders from all over the state of New York and the nation clamored to the towers to help, none worrying about their own safety and all wanting to save those who were still alive. Of those hundreds of first responders that flocked to the burning buildings within minutes of the attack, 343 firefighters and 71 law enforcement officers were killed when the towers collapsed with them inside or on the ground floor. Were they racially profiling and only saving a specific race? Nobody knows and nobody asked, because the only thing that mattered was saving every last soul that was still alive no matter their nationality, race, or religion. We as America were a true description of a melting pot on that day. Americans came together despite different religious beliefs, different ages, different races, and different nationalities, because all that mattered was we were all Americans, and we all had been attacked.
Terrorists don’t see color, they don’t see religion, they don’t see nationality, all they see is hate. On September 11, 2001 Americans from north to south and east to west were all on the same page. Senator John Kerry stated it best when he said, “Remember the hours after September 11th when we came together as one to answer the attack against our homeland. We drew strength when our firefighters ran upstairs and risked their lives so that others might live; when rescuers rushed into smoke and fire at the Pentagon; when the men and women of Flight 93 sacrificed themselves to save our nation’s Capitol; when flags were hanging from front porches all across America, and strangers became friends. It was the worst day we have ever seen, but it brought out the best in all of us.” Today, 16 years later, America is divided by so many invisible fences that a neighbor is first looked at as an enemy instead of friend. We must stop, we must come together once again, and realize no matter our nationality, ethnicity, or religious preference when we describe ourselves as a Native American, Christian American, African American, Japanese American, Muslim American or any other type they all have ONE thing in common, no matter our differences we are all Americans! And as Americans we must come together or history will repeat itself and as those twin towers fell so will our country as a whole. So this year on the anniversary of 9/11, instead of alienating yourself or group to a specific role just be proud to be nothing else but an American, because being an American is what allows you to be yourself, no matter how different it is.