My few thoughts on the tenth anniversary of 9/11 will be just one of probably hundreds of thousands of posts on the topic. Most of us easily remember where we were and what we were doing when we first heard that a plane had, apparently accidentally, flown into the North tower of the World Trade Center. And how horrified we were when we learned about a plane crashing into the second tower, another into the Pentagon, and the crash of United Flight 43 into a Pennsylvania field.
We grieved with those who lost family members, friends, and colleagues in the attacks and celebrated the heroism of first responders who, selflessly, risked their own welfare to rescue and recover others. Over time, our wounds healed over and most of us picked up where we left off, returning to work, school, and other activities.
However, as I look back over the last decade, I can only concede that we, as a nation, are forever changed by the 9/11 attacks and our immediate and long-term reactions to those attacks. We are, understandably, a more fearful, more cautious people. We comply with restrictive, ever-changing regulations in order to fly, and we are regularly prompted to be more aware of our surroundings and to report anything that seems amiss.
To the question, “Have we recovered?” I would have to reply “No.” It seems to me that over these ten years we’ve endured one shock after the other. Two wars and their inevitable casualties, follow-on terrorist attacks, financial crises, record unemployment, crippling natural and manmade disasters, and political gridlock are just a few of the challenges we’ve faced in the past decade.
Despite all this, however, our flag continues to fly high and free and, for me, is symbolic of the strength of our nation. Though we are forever changed by the events of 9/11, we are still strong, free, creative, and innovative. Together we have everything we need to overcome the challenges we face.