On previous anniversaries I’ve blogged about where I was on Sept 11, 2001 and how I spent the day. I’ve blogged about my thoughts for all of those affected by the disaster. Today, amid an atmosphere so polarized, I want to remember the day after – Sept. 12th.
When I was a kid my grandparents’ generation talked about how America rallied together during the war. There was a feeling of unity that they remembered well. On Sept. 12th, I walked through my neighborhood in Overland Park, KS to get some fresh air. Every house, every single one, displayed the red, white and blue. No one’s house was Republican or Democrat, Christian or Muslim, White or Black – we were Americans. We were united in the way I imagined when my grandparents talked about the war. I spent the day of Sept. 11th, and several of the following days, doing stories from the American heartland for the South China Morning Post. I remember doing one about flag sales and how Americans were displaying the flags. By Sept. 12th, you couldn’t buy an American flag. I ended up making a wreath for our front door (that didn’t turn out very well honestly) out of red, white and blue ribbon because we didn’t have a flag and I couldn’t find one. Flags lined Metcalf and flew outside of every business.
Now, we are so divided. It was a spirit that only really lasted a few weeks at most. It unraveled.
Of course Sept 11th was horrible. None of us would ever wish it. I am grateful, however, that for a brief moment I experienced that kind of American spirit. It’s the spirit which says, we are ALL Americans. This is us. You can hurt us. You can wound us. You can kill us. But, this is who we are. This is who we can be. We will not surrender. We are not defeated. In the midst of so much division and nastiness, it is nice to be able to remember that brief moment in time.