Remembrance and Determination by Amanda S. Green
Nineteen years ago, this nation woke to a tragedy unlike anything it had seen since Pearl Harbor. We were under attack. Four commercial airliners had been hijacked. Two flew into the Twin Towers in New York. Another crashed into the Pentagon and the fourth in a field outside of Shanksville, PA. That last plane crashed where it did because of the heroism and sacrifice of the passengers and crew onboard who refused to let their flight be used as yet another weapon against our nation.
To say the country was in shock as it reeled from one event to the next is putting it mildly. We were stunned, hurt, angry and so much more. We watched as first responders risked their lives in an all too often vain attempt to rescue those trapped by the terrorist actions aimed against all of us. We watched in horror as people jumped from the Twin Towers. We couldn’t believe it as the towers came down. It was the thing of nightmares.
But something else happened that day. In cities and towns across the country, neighbors and strangers pulled together. There was a sense of need–to act, to help, to cope–that joined us. People in areas immediately impacted by the crashes opened their doors to those trapped in town because routes away from the Twin Towers and the surrounding area were shut down. They donated their time, their food, their money.
In towns like mine, so far from where it was all happening, we did our best to pull together as well. Within an hour and a half or so of the second plane hitting the Towers, I was standing in line at the local blood bank. It was the only thing I could do right then. I was surprised by the number of people already there. The blood bank wasn’t even officially open and there were already close to 75 people in line. It didn’t surprise me to see the doors to the center suddenly swing open. Employees had come in early, without having to be asked. And not just those who were set to work that day. Those who were off, as well as at least two who no longer worked there, came to do what they could to help.
Within another hour, at least another 100 people stood in line behind me. The blood bank had a line that extended down the length of the center and around the corner. One of the employees came around and told us the line was about to turn yet another corner. Finally, with something like 200-plus people waiting in line before 11, they sent a worker out to talk with us. He had a pad and pen and was asking if anyone wanted to leave their name and number and come back the next day or two. There was simply no way they could process anywhere close to as many people as were there.
No one ahead of me volunteered to come back. I didn’t either. Why? Because I needed to do something. We all did.
It took time, but they finally whittled the line down to about 100-125. And man were those techs hustling.
But that wasn’t the end of it.
The sandwich shop next to the blood bank also opened early. It opened its restrooms to us and offered us free water and soft drinks. Someone, and I never did learn who, brought up a TV and several radios so we could listen to what was happening. Other people who lived nearby brought some lawn chairs for those of us standing in line.
Albertsons, one of our local grocery stores, sent their manager and several clerks with half a dozen or more ice chests filled with drinks, ice, etc., All free of charge. We wouldn’t even have known who they were if someone in line hadn’t asked. They came in their personal cars and didn’t wear anything to identify their employer. They simply wanted to help.
It was almost 5 by the time they got to me. As they took me back to a chair, another local merchant arrived. This time, it was a local restaurant. They had coolers and hot boxes filled with food–meals–for the workers and for those of us still there. Again, no one wanted recognition. They simply wanted to help.
In the nation’s hour of tragedy, people pulled together.
I look at that and then I consider what is happening in our nation today. We are in a different sort of war now. It’s not a war waged by an external enemy—although we have plenty of them who are more than glad to cheer on our internal adversaries and offer them aid if needed. No, this is a war waged by those who live here and who have decided it is time to destroy the very foundations of our nation.
It is bad enough that we have “mostly peaceful” demonstrations that have led to destruction, injury and loss of life. It is worse that we have politicians who refuse to take steps to protect the citizens of their towns. But, worse of all, we have those who actively advocate the suspension of not only our civil rights but our constitutional rights.
We have a presidential candidate in Joe Biden who has all but threatened workers and business owners who do no support unions coming into their shops. His running mate is more concerned with being seen with the victim of what she terms police brutality than she is in making sure the woman who has accused him of a crime has a chance at justice. But there is no hue and cry about it because the current narrative is all about how police are evil and should be abolished.
We have a Speaker of the House who not only proved she has no regard for the law, but who had no problem setting up one of her constituents for doxing. Worse, Pelosi claimed victim status for herself because she just had to have that hair cut before her interview with Vice—where she extolled the need to continue the mask mandate, business shutdowns, etc. When faced with proof of how she ignored local Covid-19 regulations, she claimed ignorance and the said she’d been set up.
This is the person who sits in the line of succession to the presidency and she didn’t know 1) she should have been wearing a mask and 2) that beauty salons IN HER OWN TOWN were not allowed to open for anything but outside work?
There are so many other examples of steps being taken by both foreign and domestic enemies of this nation. Too many to set forth here. But here’s the thing. They don’t have to win. This battle, much less the war, isn’t over. Our nation has proven time and again that it can overcome obstacles, be they economic or constitutional or even military. But we have to want to win.
I challenge each of you to remember those first days and weeks after 9/11/2001. Remember not just the desire but the need to make sure our country came out of the attacks stronger and better than it was before. Now put that same desire, that need into play today. Do not go gently into the night.
Do not sit at home on election day.
Do not let your voice be silenced.
Do not forget our history and do not consign our children and grandchildren to a future we can’t be proud of.
I want to leave you with this. I was proud of our nation on 9/11 and on the days following. We proved we could pull together when we need to.
And, by all that is holy, we need to do so now.
As Todd Beamer said, “Let’s Roll!”