How quickly we seem to have forgotten the fear that day. The confusion, not just in New York and Washington, but on every inch of American Soil.
How stunned we were to see our countrymen in New York, having survived the impact of planes into the city’s tallest buildings, leap from open windows after abandoning any hope of rescue.
Our shock at the images of our members of the military carried broken, bloodied from the charred remains of a wounded Pentagon.
That first day, our adversaries hiding in caves in Afghanistan rejoiced, believing the collapse of a few of some of our most iconic buildings signaled the crumbling of our society -- that somehow the “shock and awe” of their surprise attack would be more than enough to bring us to an end.
How distant now the memory of that night’s inspiring singing of patriotic anthems by our members of Congress who, for once, were at each other’s side rather than at each other’s throat.
Fifteen years on, gone is the architect of our pain that day. Decimated but still with us: his supporters, still planning, still plotting.
None of us can change yesterday, but we have considerable influence over tomorrow, and over strengthening the ties that bound us then, and bind us now.
Understanding that, our future depends not so much on what our adversaries will do, as it does on what we have learned in the years since 2001. What we’ve learned about who we are, who we want to be and how much we have not forgotten.
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