I was 12 years old when the World Trade Centers were attacked on September 11, 2001. I still remember that day vividly, a day that will never leave the memories of all those alive at the time.
It’s hard to believe it’s been 20 years and even harder to comprehend that an entire generation doesn’t possess this as a collective memory. I’m teaching a generation of students who weren’t alive on that fateful day.
I started watching videos on 9/11 since tomorrow is the 20th anniversary and I began to realize something, something that I want to share with you today.
When the planes crashed into the World Trade Centers, who were the first people to respond?
Local firefighters and police officers.
After the towers fell, who helped comb through wreckage, trying to save the few survivors there were as well as clean up the site after it’s destruction?
Ironworkers, structural engineers, heavy machinery operations, asbestos workers, boilermakers, carpenters, cement masons, construction managers, electricians, insulators, machinists, plumbers and pope fitters, riggers, sheet metal workers, steelworkers, truckers and teamsters, American Red Cross volunteers, firefighters, police officers and New York National Guard members.
I read that there were a few U.S. Marines on the scene as well.
The thing that hit me here was that, while that was an act of war against our country, the military was not deployed on our own soil the way that militaries are typically used in other countries throughout history. The founders wanted to make sure that the standing U.S. Army would never be used against its own citizenry and instead left all of the heavy lifting to local police, militia and citizens.
In the most tragically beautiful way, it was not the military who responded on our soil to this horrific event, it was our local heroes, police and firefighters… not to mention all the other trades listed above, who responded the an act of war against our country.
There couldn’t have been a more American response.
America is her cement masons, electricians, firefighters and everyone else who gave so much in response to this attack on our soil. Perhaps in this time of bitter division, we should stop for a minute and remember just how blessed we are to be in this country, full of people who have been and still are willing to fight and die for it. Fellow Americans should see each other and fellow Americans rather than bitter enemies.
Sometimes it takes a wake up call to remind us of this. I pray we never need another.
The Liberty Belle