Sadly, 9/11 has become little more than a history lesson and a day of remembrance for many Americans. September 11, 2001, and the days following shook the whole world when Islamic terrorists declared war against everyone and every nation and culture that did not submit to radical Islam.
September 13, Queen Elizabeth II herself ordered the Star-Spangled Banner to be played during the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace. Vladimir Putin ordered a moment of silence at noon (Moscow time) with Russian flags flown at half-staff throughout Russia.
September 14, church and memorial services around the world commemorated those who suffered and those who died. The Star-Spangled Banner was played in many venues as London, Edinburgh, Paris, Ottawa, Germany, Ireland, and South Korea paused to mourn.
Perhaps the most sobering commemoration came on the evening of 9/11 itself when about 150 members of Congress gathered on the Capitol’s east front steps. Senators and representatives, Democrats and Republicans stood side-by-side, united against pure evil.
House Speaker Dennis Hastert spoke for the nation: “When America suffers, and when people perpetrate acts against this country, we as a Congress and a government stand united and we stand together to fight this evil threat. Those who brought forth this evil deed will pay the price.”
Congress members then paused a moment in silence before breaking into an impromptu rendition of God Bless America.
This show of unity, solidarity, and patriotism stood in sharp contrast to the controversial transition of power in the White House fewer than nine months before.
The 2000 election for president was even more contentious than 2016, though few today care to remember. America was politically divided 50-50. September 11, 2001, changed that by focusing everyone’s attention on a common enemy who wanted to kill all of us.
By contrast, today’s headlines feature a map showing Alabama in a sharpie-improvised cone of danger from Dorian. Bernie Sanders stumps for abortion to curb population growth around the world. LGBTQ activists protest Chik-fil-A as a hate group. Saints quarterback Drew Brees records a video encouraging students to participate in “Bring Your Bible to School Day,” and is attacked for being a “bigot” and for supporting a “hate group.”
How long were Americans united after 9/11? Not long. Politics trumps patriotism. Americans have become easily distracted by charges of hate and racism and all of the phobias.
In his video addressed to Christian students, Brees said, “So I want to encourage you to live out your faith on Bring Your Bible to School Day and share God’s love with friends. You’re not alone.” Raging, hate-filled activists pounced on Brees and his positive message to America’s children.
Can anyone or anything bring Americans back together? Have Americans become hopelessly divided by politics of hate? Can we no longer support positive Christian messages without hate-filled political attacks?
Eighteen years ago radical Islamic terrorists shook the earth with their deadly attack on America. Then there was a day when Americans united against a common threat. The common threat today is hate.
Maybe Americans should listen to those like Drew Brees who tell our children, “live out your faith on Bring Your Bible to School Day and share God’s love with friends. You’re not alone.”
Daniel L. Gardner is a syndicated columnist who lives in Starkville, Miss. You may contact him at PJandMe2@gmail.com .