None of us will ever forget Sept. 11, 2001, but have we already forgotten the lessons we learned that day?
On Sept. 12, 2001, the city of New York forgot everything they knew about strangers. No one was afraid to reach out and help someone they didn’t know because they had a common bond uniting them. Despite all the chaos in the streets, there was no looting. The city was injured, but the survivors stood together. It was that day that we realized things would get better, and we could emerge stronger and more cohesive than ever before.
At that time, more than ever, we were Americans. We identified with each other; we felt an actual sense of community. It wasn’t just in New York City where people came together for the common good– it spread across our country.
Around Kansas City, flags flew at half-mast on every street corner; people held doors for each other, waved hello to strangers, helped each other. We were united not by fear, as the terrorists had hoped, but by compassion for our fellow countrymen.
Many of us vowed that we would hold on to that newfound spirit of patriotism, but only ten years later it has begun to dwindle and in some cases, to completely disappear.
Two Baltimore teens are facing charges—one of them five years in prison—after heinously beating a transgender woman at McDonald’s so badly that she had a seizure. The video of this assault, and of the other patrons standing by laughing or doing nothing to help the woman, quickly became viral.
At opening night of the Wisconsin State Fair, two separate mobs of youths stormed the crowd and began senselessly beating people and shaking or pounding on their cars as they tried to drive. At least 11 injuries were caused, and 31 were arrested.
Looking at these incidents and others makes one wonder where the love went. What has become of the American Spirit?
As American citizens, it is our duty to help those who feel like outcasts become part of the group. We were founded on the principles of charity and “E. Pluribus Unum”: “Out of many, one.” When we, as a country, fail to stand up for these ideas, we truly have failed.
Remember 9/11, but focus on 9/12 and the love, mutual respect, and unity we learned that day. Then, and only then, can we truly prove that we, not the terrorists, have won.