America to Her Knees, Again: A September 11th Essay on the Posture of a People United

September 9, 2006

The Tragedy of September 11th Brought America to Her Knees, Twice
Marcel L. Johnson

First, by the attack on our nation’s nerve centers, The World Trade Center and the U.S. Department of Defense at the Pentagon, crippling us economically and devastating us emotionally. Secondly, was the President’s appeal for every American citizen to participate in a National Day of Prayer.

And, for a moment, the citizens of America unashamedly answered the call and prayed. Regardless of race, creed or color; no matter the religious background.

People who never attended church found a seat in the pew. Many whose lives would normally be busy, paused for a moment of silence or lit candles in the streets in observance of those who perished.

Tragedy has a way of humbling us and forcing us to focus on what’s important. Instead of being selfish, we became selfless. Instead of the ‘it’s about me’ syndrome, it was about someone else. We began seeing each other through a different set of eyes.

Our priorities shifted, too. Corporate plates weren’t as full. We were taking time to smell the coffee, sniff the roses, and embrace any and everything that helped us remember to appreciate the little things.

There were no reports of looting, and few burglaries. Even crimes against each other subsided.

On September 11, 2001, something happened to America. The tragedy that was meant to knock us to our knees in defeat instead humbled us before the God on whom this nation was built.

Now, on the eve of the fifth anniversary, as we remember in solemn observance, let us not focus so much on the disaster of that day, but consider instead the quiet resolve that was birthed in us: to protect and uphold freedom, no matter the cost, so help us God.

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