On Sunday, our nation will mark the ten-year anniversary of 9/11. As we reflect on this tragic moment in American history, my hope is that we’ll honor the lives of our fallen citizens in the same spirit as when the country rallied together in the immediate aftermath of the attacks.
The passing of an entire decade has done little to erase the images and sounds of that horrific day. The weeks that followed were equally as dark. At the time, the only bright spot seemed to be the sense of unity our nation experienced. Partisanship and ideological differences gave way to a deeper sense of our heritage as Americans. An appreciation and respect for the Christian faith pervaded almost every sector of society. “God is back!” wrote the Wall Street Journal’s Peggy Noonan, and she was right. It was a fitting response. Our unity as a people and our widespread acknowledgement of the Lord honored the heroic acts of policemen and firefighters and the courageous men and women on Flight 93.
Such behavior showed respect to thousands of our fellow citizens who perished on three other hijacked aircraft, at the Twin Towers, and at the Pentagon. But as you know, that unity quickly faded.
I am aware of the controversy regarding the prohibition of formal prayer at Sunday’s ceremony in New York. That such an unfortunate and sad decision was made is reflective of the ongoing cultural schism in America. There is much to be said about it, but on this solemn anniversary, out of respect for the victims of 9/11, we won’t debate the decision not to have religious expression at the memorial.
Instead, my prayer is that the lives lost that day will not have been in vain. The legacy of their sacrifice ought to be a nation which sets aside self-interest and petty partisanship, engages in healthy dialogue, and pursues meaningful solutions for our common good.
May we honor our fellow citizens of 9/11, not just in our annual memorials, but by treating each other with dignity and respect as we work to resolve fundamental issues of national consequence.
On a related note, I’d encourage you to listen to our very special three-day program, airing yesterday, today and this coming Monday, featuring, among other stories, the incredible 9/11 survival of New York City Fire Department Captain Jay Jonas. Please click here to access our broadcast page.