Doctorate in Unity

As many know, September 11 is a somber day for me and for many. I was not directly impacted by the day’s events, but more so I felt their effect. I did not write the following words, but I wish I had. These words are beautifully written and are an honest man’s take on the events, the aftermath, and America’s next chapter. Please enjoy and God bless American, land that I love.

A stark truth is not everyone is our friend. America’s evolving adversaries, both large and small, represent a growing global challenge. On Sept. 11, 2001, one such adversary struck at the bedrock of American ideals.

We work hard every day to combat those who would do us harm. Every weapon, aircraft, vehicle, projectile and system we deliver ensures our warfighters have the proper tools to take the fight to the enemy.

On 9/11, however, the fight came to us. The date is now an annual reminder that the national defense role we play can never rest. It requires our most steadfast attention, as a nation and an agency.

Much like Memorial Day, 9/11 isn’t a day to celebrate, but rather a time for remembering and honoring those we lost. We all have our individual traditions: a gathering, a phone call, silent contemplation — but collectively we pay tribute to those who lost their lives on that day and the days and years after.

American history is often taught to school children in highlights. The Declaration of Independence, the Louisiana Purchase, the Civil War, the Great Depression, the World Wars … but these snapshots do not fully capture the American spirit of love and loss, life and death, and victory and defeat.

Ours is the story of revolution, expansion and freedom. It’s also, unfortunately, an imperfect story, at times rife with oppression and bigotry. If our history is about lessons, however, 9/11 offers a doctorate in unity.

“Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness” is a label we wear with pride, unfettered by race, sex, religion or creed. Our differences that are often twisted to cause division meant little as the Twin Towers fell.

We are bound together by the memory of the innocent civilians and first responders who lost their lives that September day. In the wake of 9/11, we all hugged a little tighter, kissed a little longer and appreciated the peacefulness of quiet.

Today, as we remember these American heroes, I suggest you take the time to do all three. For it is us who will help write the next chapter of American history, and who doesn’t like a happy ending?

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