9/11 – Coming Together in the Face of Tragedy

By:  Timothy Black

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The resilience of the “American Spirit” is awesome.  It’s awesome in the colloquial sense – in that it’s really cool that we, as a giant diverse group of people, never seem to quit on each other; and it’s awesome in the literal sense – in that it’s awe-inspiring to see people’s altruistic nature rise to the top when times are toughest.  Never am I more cognizant of this “American Spirit” than on September 11th.  Each year, as the calendar reminds us of the terror attacks that tore down the World Trade Center, we reflect on that tragedy, but celebrate the spirit of the first responders, New Yorkers, and Americans alike in refusing to let a weaponized airliner kill the “American Spirit.”

Harvey_aftermath_Boat_Evacuation_(36117500773)Although it always seems like it takes a national tragedy like 9/11 to remind us to recognize and celebrate that “American Spirit,” the desire and willingness to help our neighbor is always there.  It’s fitting that we reflect on that “American Spirit” today – in the wake (or midst) of two national tragedies that have again ignited our collective desire to help each other.

The way our nation came together to help all of the flooding victims left behind when Hurricane Harvey finally moved past the Houston area is inspiring.  Whether it’s the $30+ million dollars J.J. Watt helped raise, or the pet adoption centers nationwide that have helped alleviate the need for shelter space to house displaced pets, the country has come together to do what is needed to help Houstonians get back to a semblance of normalcy as soon as possible.

170905-A-YG824-001Then, just when the Houston recovery efforts started to hit their stride, Hurricane Irma wreaked havoc on the Caribbean and Florida coast.  Already, mere hours after the winds began to die down and the rain started to subside, people are already coming to the aid of our Floridian brothers and sisters.  And it’s beautiful.

While our politics divide us, and our football rivalries ignite the inner-fire, it’s important to remember that when it matters – when it really matters – political affiliation and jersey color mean nothing.  In the end, we are all neighbors.  We are brothers, sisters, family, and friends.  For all of our differences, we are the same.  We all share that innate need to be there for each other.  We say “never forget” when we celebrate the memory of the victims of the 9/11 Terror Attacks.  We must never forget the victims.  We must never forget the first responders, and we must never forget the “American Spirit” that came out in spades when we were attacked.  And we continue to pay homage to those victims and that “American Spirit” with each national tragedy, to be sure, but also with each and every time we come to the aid of one of our neighbors.  I hope we all go out today and never forget.

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