Do you realize it has been almost seven years since Islamic terrorists flew hijacked planes into the World Trade Center towers and the Pentagon? It’s one of those defining moments in time when you’ll always remember where you were and what you were doing when you first heard the news. There have only been a handful of such events in my lifetime (I’m 39)… President Reagan being shot, the space shuttle disasters, both Challenger and Columbia and September 11, 2001, forever designated as 9-11.
Do you remember how our nation responded in the days and weeks following 9-11. Although tragic, it was a time that made us all proud to be Americans.
Three weeks following 9-11 I was on vacation with my family in Myrtle Beach, SC. We were having dinner at Hard Rock Cafe, a rock & roll themed restaurant that plays music videos on multiple large screens. The restaurant was filled with the sounds of silverware striking plates, waitresses taking orders, children laughing, patrons chatting and of course, lots of loud music.
[ad#cws-blog-right-300×250]As one song ended and the next one began to play, it was obvious that it wasn’t the typical Bruce Springsteen, Aerosmith or Van Halen type music you normally hear at a Hard Rock Cafe. The opening lyrics drifted throughout the restaurant… “If tomorrow all the things were gone, I’d worked for all my life…” Instantly, the entire restaurant fell silent, all but the voice of Lee Greenwood singing God Bless the USA. People stopped in the middle of their conversations, children sat quietly and waitresses stood still as everyone’s attention was entirely focused on the music video playing on screens throughout the restaurant. People were hanging on every word, as if for the first time they understood what was meant by “And I’ll gladly stand up, next to you and defend her still today.”
As the song ended… “‘Cause there ain’t no doubt I love this land, God bless the USA”, customers and employees erupted in a cheer normally reserved for college football stadiums. The cheer eventually turned into a chant… USA! USA! USA!
At that moment there were no Democrats or Republicans, liberals or conservatives… only proud Americans… angry Americans… Americans ready to go after the enemy… Americans ready to support their President.
patriotism – love for or devotion to one’s country.
The previous week, on September 20, 2001, President Bush addressed Congress. At the same time In Philadelphia, the New York Rangers and the Philadelphia Flyers were tied at 2-2 and were preparing to start the third period. During the intermission the beginning of President Bush’s speech was playing on the big screens above the scoreboard. As the teams took to the ice the screens went blank and the game was set to resume. That’s went something unusual happened. 19,117 hockey fans began to boo. Then they began to chant… “Leave it on!”
Fans that had paid over $50 per ticket to see their Flyers play hockey were demanding to hear the President’s speech instead. They got their wish. The speech was returned to the video screens and both teams returned to their benches.
In that speech, President Bush left no doubt about the path that America was about to travel.
“Our war on terror begins with al Qaeda, but it does not end there. It will not end until every terrorist group of global reach has been found, stopped and defeated.” (Loud applause by both parties.)
“This war will not be like the war against Iraq a decade ago, with a decisive liberation of territory and a swift conclusion. It will not look like the air war above Kosovo two years ago, where no ground troops were used and not a single American was lost in combat.”
“Our response involves far more than instant retaliation and isolated strikes. Americans should not expect one battle, but a lengthy campaign, unlike any other we have ever seen. It may include dramatic strikes, visible on TV, and covert operations, secret even in success. We will starve terrorists of funding, turn them one against another, drive them from place to place, until there is no refuge or no rest. And we will pursue nations that provide aid or safe haven to terrorism. Every nation, in every region, now has a decision to make. Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists. (loud applause from both parties.) From this day forward, any nation that continues to harbor or support terrorism will be regarded by the United States as a hostile regime.”
Every time the President delivered a strong statement about going after the enemy, the fans erupted into cheers so loud that it drowned out the applause coming from the house chamber. But as soon as the President began to speak again, the crowd instantly became silent.
As the President concluded his speech 36 minutes later, the fans were chanting U-S-A and waiving American flags, a scene reminiscent of the 1980 Lake Placid Winter Olympics when a young USA team shocked the world by beating a much more experienced USSR team to claim the gold. But on this night they were not cheering for a hockey team. They were cheering on their President and sending a message to the world that the United States of America will not tolerate an attack on our homeland.
The game was never finished. Players said it just didn’t seem right to play hockey that night.
Fast forward seven years to 2008 and we now have a country that is resentful of a President that has done exactly what he said he was going to do, a country that thinks we shouldn’t be at war with Muslim extremists, and a country on the verge of electing a president named Barrack Hussein Obama and thinks that we should end this war.
In 2001, Barrack Obama was unknown to most Americans outside of Chicago. What would you have thought, if on September 12, 2001, you somehow were able to peer into the future and see a newspaper from January 2009 with the following headline: “Barrack Hussein Obama Sworn In As 44th President of the United States”? I know what I would have thought. The terrorists have won.
So what happened between 2001 and 2008 that caused such a u-turn in the American psyche? Are we no longer the nation that fought for freedom from British oppression and defended Europe from Nazi and communist schemes to conquer the world? What happened to that America?
I would love you hear your opinion. Leave a comment below.