OPINION | Barry Richard: For a Brief Moment in Time, America Stood United
For a brief moment in time, America stood united. Her people were stunned, hurt, confused and afraid but never wavered. Our national spirit was bruised, but never broken. From evil emerged strength and solidarity. Determination. Resolve. Defiance.
America's will was tested. She rose to the occasion.
The unprovoked attacks that claimed 2,997 lives that September morning sixteen years ago changed the world. It shattered an illusion that we were safe here at home from the craziness that was already occurring across the globe. It robbed us of our sense of security. It shook us to the core and forever changed the way we live but, it could never change who we are.
For a brief moment in time, America stood united. We poured resolute from our homes in defiance of those who would deliver such evil to our shores. We stood together, night after night. In neighborhood after neighborhood. All across the country. We stood, flags in hand. Young and old. And we sang. And we prayed. And we cried.
And then the shock and fear turned quickly to ager. Thousands of men and women flooded the recruitment offices and sailed off to distance places in Afghanistan and Iraq to fight the War On Terror. Places we'd only read about became constant images on our TV screens.
Those older than I remember another time when the greatest generation rallied to confront an enemy that brought its evil to our shores. However, even they tell me that this was different. The Japanese had targeted the military at Pearl Harbor. This unseen enemy attacked civilians. Men. Women. Children. And no one knew for sure when or if it would happen again.
For a brief moment in time, America stood united. Our political differences seemed petty. Democrats. Republicans. Independents. They all stood on the steps of the U.S. Capitol Building and spontaneously held hands in song. God, Bless America. They too were defiant. And then they went back to work to discuss how we would respond to our attackers.
For a brief moment in time, America stood united. Never forget.