"May the lives remembered, the deeds recognized, and the spirit reawakened be eternal beacons, which reaffirm respect for life, strengthen our resolve to preserve freedom, and inspire an end to hatred, ignorance and intolerance."Â
We honor the thousands who died and the many Americans who have served and are currently serving in our nation's militaryâ€”many enlisting as a response to the 9/11 attacks. Come together this 9/11 to honor, remember and reunite. Explore the 911 Interactive Timeline.
Who Americans Are
September 11, 2001 is etched in the memory of those who lived it as the unique moment when every American realized something had gone unthinkably awry. The only question was, how awry.
Through that muttled haze we telephoned loved ones to make sure we understood what we thought we did and ease ourselves in knowing they were, simply,Â reachable. We tried to comfort friends and those of us who could, gathered with them. We understood these were the last moments of thousands of innocent Americans' lives. None of us were sure how far its tenacles might reach into the once safe haven of our lives, too.
In those dawning moments and byÂ shear human nature, Americans adhered into the united nation of one that we by nature are. We were not white or black, legal or illegal, Jewish, Islam or Christian. We were not the haves or the have-nots, the 1% or the ninety-nine, we weren't prideful elitists or gun-totin' rednecks. We were, just, Americans.
We watched countrymen cover every inch of New York City streets with postings of the missing, pleading for some sign of survival. We Â hung in disbelief on news accounts of planes crashing into skyscrapers, skyscrapers bursting into burning debrisÂ and people jumping from them before they collapsed into piles of rubble with thousands still inside. Ash and residue of lives-lived filled crevaces of life we didn't even know had crevaces. Phone messages of the dying's fighting words or last goodbyes echoed into the forever resounding canyons of American posterity. Innocents died and heros were born.
In the following days leagues of firefighters, policemen, public Â utility crews,Â and private industries from across our nation trekked Midwest interstates to bustling East Coast highways, to aid and assist. Private contractors and crews with personal leave took off work to go on their own, none having concern for their next union contract, who'd pay for the travel, if they'd get overtime - or if they'd be paid at all. Strangers on our streets began waving in nodding gestures and businesses extended the long lost art of caring courtesies, each of us intuitively knowing the patriotism of American brotherhood that was being extended. Words weren't necessary, because we were, all, Americans.Â
We taped our country's Â flag against work windows from every office building, draped it from rooftops and flew it from flag poles that seemed to sprout from our soils overnight. It flapped from car doors and clung to car trunks, we pinned them to our lapels, sewed them on our uniforms and stuck them to official game gear. First and foremost and above anything and everything else, we were, all, Americans.
Our country's ethnicities hewned mankind's perfection from our melting pot of American Exceptionalism and it felt good. Our love of God and country gave us faith, our faith gave us strength, our strength gave us courage, and our courage melded into a patriotism that is America. 911 epitomized our people's unbeatable determination to overcome the bully that tries to take a nip out of our soul but gives rise to our American spirit instead.
This is who AmericansÂ are. If this isn't your America, you don't belong here.
Don't turn your country over to a president who is anything less.
Astronaut Frank Culbertson was the only American who wasn't on Earth during the attacks -- he watched them from space.
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