I remember not only when the planes hit the towers. I remember not only when the towers fell. I remember a united America. I remember American flags proudly hanging from freeway overpasses. I remember our churches being filled beyond capacity.
On that day, we were all covered in ash. We didn’t focus and obsess on what made us different. It wasn’t about our skin color, our gender, our religions, our politics, or anything else. We were united in our grief. In our shock. In our support for those who died. And for those who risked their own lives to save others, even when it was obvious it was a one way trip up those stairways.
Now, 17 years later, I grieve over how far we have drifted. We fight over every little thing. We insult. We threaten. We attack one another routinely. We preach, but don’t practice tolerance. This level of division hasn’t been seen in half a century.
On that day, 17 years ago, we were attacked from the outside. Today, we’re imploding from the inside. Our character, our integrity, our humanity has been pulverized into dust.
Perhaps the darkest day in American history, it brought out our very best. We rallied behind our President. Members of Congress, from both sides of the aisle, stood on the Capitol steps, joined hands, joined hearts, passionately sang God Bless America.
To recognize where we are, we must remember where we came from. We must recognize how far from our best we have drifted. And we must all grab an oar, and begin rowing together to return to a place of dignified unity. We will still have our differences. But we can also maintain our civility and humanity. Rather than focus on what makes us different, remember that there is much more that unites us.
If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
II Chronicles 7:14