Looking back on the events of Sept. 11, 2001, so many people claim to remember what they were doing when they heard about the attacks. My guess is that people of a certain age will not forget where they were when they first heard. But for me, the most vivid memories are of Sept. 12.
American flags suddenly sold out of local stores and appeared on front porches everywhere. People quit arguing about petty things and started talking about the United States of America as one unified country. The planes that hit the World Trade Center and the Pentagon along with the plane that was forced down in a field over Pennsylvania were viewed not as four separate acts but as one coordinated attack on US.
September 12 Defined Us
If a building had collapsed in New York City, no one outside of those 10 city blocks would have said much. But because a group of radical terrorists staged the attack, it was a blow struck against us.
Suddenly all the distinctions were gone. We were all just Americans, and the people attacking this country were attacking us. No one sitting at dinner in Leola, South Dakota, was thinking about what happened to “those people” in New York. We were all thinking about what happened to us and what was going to happen next. We asked, “How will this impact us?” and “Why are they attacking us?”
On the same day, Sept. 12, we clearly stated things like, “You will not defeat us,” “You cannot dominate us,” and “Your attack on us will not go unpunished.”
On that day, we all came together. We treated people better. We knew that we all needed to work together in the face of great adversity. In the midst of our national grief, there was a cohesion the likes of which we had not seen since the last time we faced a surprise attack on American soil. Both of those days shall live in infamy, and both spawned a feeling that cannot be recreated without suffering through a great national tragedy.
How Did We Forget?
Sadly, such feelings never last. It was not long before the galvanizing power of the Sept. 11 attacks faded and we once again started thinking and talking about “them” and “those people.” It is a shame.
Imagine the good we could do if we simply returned to the feeling we had on Sept. 12 — the day when we all believed that the United States of America was truly united as one country that needed to work together to make everything better.
What would it take to recapture the outpouring of support and pride that we saw on Sept. 12?
About Kevin Michalowski
Kevin Michalowski is executive editor of Concealed Carry Magazine and a fully certified law enforcement officer working part time in rural Wisconsin. He is a USCCA- and NRA-Certified Trainer. Kevin has participated in training across the U.S. as both a student and an instructor in multiple disciplines. These specialties include pistol, rifle, shotgun, empty-hand defense and rapid response to the active shooter. Kevin is passionate about the concealed carry lifestyle, studying the legal, ethical and moral aspects of the use of force in self-defense. He is a graduate of the Force Science Institute Certification Course and has worked as a professional witness and consultant on matters concerning the judicious use of deadly force and deadly force decision-making.