Miner Editorial | Adversity makes us stronger

Twenty years ago yesterday, more than 3,000 Americans were killed simply for being American.

Islamic extremists commandeered four airplanes and turned them into missiles. Two hit the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, another punched a hole in the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.; and a fourth plowed into a field on reclaimed minelands in south-central Pennsylvania after dozens of heroic passengers stormed the cockpit and took United Flight 93 down.

It was an outrage, and it united Americans, more than any Olympics or television show or attack from a foreign power had since the Japanese set their bomb sights on Pearl Harbor.

Red, white and blue flags sold out at department stores, and adorned the radio antennas on seemingly every car and truck. Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the U.S.A.” experienced an instant comeback, and Toby Keith struck a chord with “Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue.” For awhile, people actually sang the national anthem instead of just standing there.

And, amazingly, at least by today’s standards, Republicans and Democrats set aside their differences and rowed in the same direction. They voted 240-1 in the U.S. House of Representatives, and 98-0 in the U.S. Senate, to got to war to punish our adversaries, and keep them at bay.

At that time, coming off a contested election due to “hanging chads” on ballots in Florida that split the country and required a Supreme Court decision to settle, America found a cause to rally around. We were all victims. We all sought retribution.

On Saturday, the 20th anniversary of the cowardly attack, Americans again united to honor the heroes, mourn the dead and condemn the terrorists, amid renewed fears that Al-Qaeda could reconstitute itself in Afghanistan since there are no longer American boots on the ground.

At a remembrance ceremony in Kingman Saturday, Assistant Fire Chief Tim Sendelbach had this to say: “I want to remind you of one particular thing, 20 years ago before the dust had cleared, before the rubble had been removed or a funeral had been conducted, our nation came together in a way we’d never seen before. Out of tragedy came strength; out of tragedy came a much stronger nation.”

Well said. Let’s hope it doesn’t take another 9/11 for it to happen again.

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