Sixteen years have passed since the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. A generation of children have grown up during a time of uncertainty and have lived through so many changes. These attacks signaled the end of a relatively peaceful time in modern history. The world seemed to be on its way to a happy and prosperous time where anything was possible. Now, on the sixteenth anniversary of the attacks the world is in a much more troublesome state. Natural disasters are becoming more and more destructive, there are so many injustices to fight for that it can become daunting. Looking back sixteen years and the aftermath of the attacks it is easy to only see the ugly side of it, the terrorists and the death and destruction that they left in their wake. This is an exhausting and dangerous way to remember and it does a disservice to all of the people that risked their lives to save as many people as they could from the destruction.
Thousands of people are expected to pay their respects in New York where the towers once stood, family members will mourn their loved ones. Survivors will visit the place where firefighters and police officers gave their lives to rescue them. All of these people will unite in one place to remember a day that is so difficult to move past from and they’re right to carry that day with them. It was something that no one in this country ever thought would happen. What is important to take out of this tragedy is the way that an entire country came together to help those in need. This is the kind of patriotism that this country needs to be reminded of, the desire to help your fellow neighbor in their time of need.
Tragedies tend to make people see the bad that this world has to offer but what is more important is to take a look at all of the good that comes out of those tragedies. Take the recent hurricanes, they have devastated thousands of homes leaving people without any place to return to. Though a different kind of tragedy from the terrorist attacks, the hurricanes still came with their own kind of fear and devastation. However, people came together and helped those in need, they raised money, invited complete strangers into their homes and offering them a place to stay. It is in these moments that the American spirit really shines and it is these acts that stay with people for years to come.
Reading through articles every year brings out more and more stories about people who did what they could to help those in need. It is these people that we should celebrate and honor along with the countless firefighters that risked their lives when they entered the burning buildings not knowing whether they would make it out again. It is dangerous to succumb to our fear, it will warp everything to the point where it seems that stepping outside your door is unsafe. Instead, we must remember the way that the country came together in a time of need. The aid that other countries provided, whether through symbolic gestures like Austria tolling its church bells in unison or the Maasai people in Kenya offering fourteen cows and the overall feeling of support from countries all over the world.
Unity is the light that must shine through times of fear and devastation, it is what makes the American people so resilient. Forgetting about everything that divides us as individuals coming together as a country is what made the days that followed bearable. That sense of belonging and community is what helped so many people cope with their loss. United we stand.