On Tuesday, the nation once again paid tribute to the victims of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon as well as those that perished in the downing of United Flight 93 in Pennsylvania.
Most of us took a moment from our day to think about how shocked we were and where we were that morning when the first plane hit the World Trade Center in NYC.
And then we went about our business as usual.
September 11, 2001, was indeed one of the most traumatic days in American history, yet the promise and unity of purpose of our country was suddenly never stronger as a result of the attacks. It reawakened us as patriotic Americans. We were no longer a spoiled nation unappreciative of our freedom and way of life.
Sadly, on Thursday, September 13, 2012, we are once again oblivious in our daily lives by the constant threats we face from many enemies abroad-and from the dangers that separate us from within.
Instead of being proud and united, we are more fragmented than before 9-11 in terms of social class, race, sexual preference, religious beliefs and ethnicity, a country that is ineffective in moving forward in building a strong economy and quality of life for our citizens and leading as an example in the world.
On 9-11-01, Americans momentarily put aside their differences, stopped taking for granted the liberties they accord them wealth and freedom, and experienced a nationalistic cohesion of unity and purpose unseen in generations in our country.
Anguished Americans refocused and came together as one American people. Once again, we were proud to be patriotic Americans. It was that particular, patriotic unity that helped us win World Wars and become the greatest nation on earth.
"Our enemies have made the mistake that America's enemies always make. They saw liberty and thought they saw weakness. And now, they see defeat," said President George W. Bush after the attacks.
Instead of building upon the energy and new direction resulting from that 9-11 unanimity, we stand today a weaker nation than we were in 2001.
We may be safer from external threats, but there's a dangerous internal weakness fostered by a lack of nationalism 11 years later that threatens our future more than Islamic fundamentalists in Asia and Africa.
Our nationalistic deadness is reflected in a terrible attitude that promotes a lack of priority in the reinforcement of democratic ideals that today are deemed jingoistic in a negative sense. Instead, political correctness and expediency takes precedence and controls our American psyche.
That lack of serious perspective and anti-patriotic attitude was reflected this anniversary of 9-11 when the Today Show played rather a Kris Jenner interview rather than show their viewers the moment of silence taking place at a ceremony at Ground Zero for the victims of 9-11.
It was also reflected in the treasonous leaking of details -- and even the writing of a book by a Navy SEAL -- about the killing of the mastermind of 9-11 attacks that was this week's 60 Minutes sensation -- and the use of those top secret details as a cynical means of recapturing the White House by President Obama's campaign.
On the right, the use of the term "patriot" has been misused and misappropriated by the tea party, Sean Hannity and others so that it has become negatively associated with political and economic intransigence, insensitivity and dogma.
Many editorials were written on Tuesday imploring the idea of the importance to continue to remember the victims of 9-11 and the need to "rekindle" that wonderful momentary sense of unity that occurred on that date.
But it's not a matter of finding brotherhood once again.
It's a matter of restoring love and respect for our country and its democratic institutions and fostering new political leadership to encourage the pride and satisfaction-and unity-we had in our country on 9-11-01.
It may be as simple as requiring the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance at public events and in schools once again-even if "under God" has not been stricken from it yet.
There's a saying that "time heals all wounds." While the hurt of September 11 will continue to fade as time goes on, much as it did in remembering the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the resulting unabashed patriotism in our country that arose those September days in 2001 must continue to be renewed and remain fresh in our American minds forever.
It's about getting our true priorities and vision straight, like our country briefly did on 9-11-01.
Published in Sun Sentinel on September 13, 2012
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