The unity of the country following the attacks of 911 was simply astounding. In a way, it makes you long for those fleeting days when Democrats and Republicans, blacks and whites, heterosexuals and homosexuals, rich and poor and everyone in between seemed to come together to help heal the hurt and devastation America suffered. Sure we are fractured (again?) in so many ways, but that makes the longing much more intense.
Later on 911, I saw the both houses of congress all come out in the open to pray and sing [with audio]"God bless America". Bad notes and all, I believe each of them had a sincere heart that America would and could recover. How could anyone not be touched with the depth of grief on the faces of the people looking for their loved ones in the lingering aftermath of the carnage? I had seen numerous times on TV, people in "underdeveloped" countries weeping, crying and looking when castrophes hit them. But I must confess I didn't really feel anything much. Perhaps because it was a faraway place and I didn't quite connect with them. But to see your own people, other Americans in a state of bewilderment, coupled with the emotional trauma of 911 made me see things in a different light.
As a new pastor (we had just started our church in March of 2001), I discovered in that time that America really needed to learn how to bless God. He had already blessed us beyond imagination, but we had been negligent in blessing Him. 911 proved to be an excellent opportunity to show God that we were indeed thankful that things were not worse. Yes, I said worse. Generally, upwards of 50,000 people worked in the World Trade Center's two towers.
The unity of the people brought back heartfelt memories I still carried from my eight months in Saudi Arabia and Iraq during the first Gulf War. From what I was told by my family and friends, there was an unprecedented move to prayer in the nation. People were truly looking to God for help, comfort and protection as we went into war. That made me and just about every soldier I know feel good inside knowing that the country was with us. Though separated by thousands of miles and in a presumably hostile culture, America was with us. I got quite a few letters from little kids that would make any hard man cry. They were so innocent and encouraging.
That says a lot about national pride. So people may minimize it, but it is when we are all under duress from the same common enemy that we shine the brightest. Of course no one wants that, but when it is what you are handed, coming together is a powerful affirmation of our divinely implanted human spirit.
Remember all the flags that people flew from their cars? Flags were everywhere! Yes, it all died down after a while, but it was great to see Americans proud to be Americans for a while.
Finally, I want to remember and honor the members of the military who were killed in action at the Pentagon. One thing we soldiers do: we are at our posts and we stay until relieved of duty. While I do not place my faith in military might nor do I believe that military strength and prowess alone is keeping America safe, I am deeply grateful for and support every servicemember 100%. Volunteering to serve your country is an awesome thing. For every one who falls in battle, another steps up to take his or her place.
Tomorrow: 911: Where were you? Part IV Other bloggers remember: