In the midst a deadly pandemic and a heated election race, it might be easy to overlook the life-altering events that took place not far from here, 19 years ago this week.
Those of us alive on September 11, 2001 will never forget the details of the day, including where we were and what we were doing when the terrible news came that the towers of the World Trade Center had been struck and set aflame by two hijacked airline jets, while a third struck the Pentagon and a fourth - presumably aiming for the White House - was forced down in a Pennsylvania field, thanks to some heroic passengers. We will not forget the thousands who lost their lives that day, whether they be airline passengers, workers in one of the twin tower buildings or the Pentagon or the many first responders. Many of them would suffer the lasting effects of that horrific day long after the debris had been removed and a new tower would rise in lower Manhattan.
We may remember many things from 9-11, but there are clearly lessons lost from that time.
America emerged from 9-11 a unified nation. We shared our love for New York City, for our country and for those institutions that define America, including its military and its first responders. We were united in a cause to defeat global terrorism. That unity is nowhere to be found today.
The Pandemic America is a divided nation. We are divided among racial and economic lines. Political divisions seem to have widened in recent years. Mostly, it seems that we have forgotten how to care for one another.
While we must always remember 9-11, so too, must we remember its aftermath. We must remember the sense of compassion and unity that was embraced. And we must find a way to recapture that feeling, now before it is too late.
We look to our leaders to show us the way, before it is too late.