There are a few things I will never forget about this day 19 years ago.
I will never forget where I was when America was attacked by 19 cowards on that sunny Tuesday morning.
I was in 9th grade at Rocky Mountain Hebrew Academy which was housed at the JCC in Denver, Colorado. The early morning prayer services featured an extra section that is customarily recited in the week before Rosh Hashana, and we came extra early that Tuesday morning, as we would be doing all week. After services, as we grabbed our bagels, people coming to school told us that an airplane hit the World Trade Center. I didn’t really know what the World Trade Center was, and I assumed some small airplane damaged the windows of a tall building in New York several thousand miles away. I jokingly called my brother who was in yeshiva in New York to see if he was okay. Then more people started talking about, and we turned on the TV, and radio.
We listened on the radio as the towers came crashing down, and 2,753 precious Americans prematurely lost their lives. I quickly assumed it must have been Hamas who was responsible, the only terror organization I had ever heard of, who had been murdering innocent Israelis by blowing up crowded cafes and buses over the past few years. I felt some comfort knowing that America would be coming for them in short order.
With so much unknown, and America clearly under attack, we made plans to go home early that day. I was filled not with fear, but with rage at the people who so viciously carried out this heinous attack. I felt a profound love for America, its leaders and its people, and took pride in my country in a way I never had before.
Which leads me to the next thing I will never forget.
I will never, ever, forget the feeling that American’s had for one another in those first days after 9/11. If someone cut you off on the road or in a line at the grocery store, it simply didn’t matter. We were all Americans. We were under attack. We were in this together. If you were a Republican, or a Democrat, it simply did not matter. We were all Americans. We were under attack. We were in this together. If you voted for George W. Bush or Al Gore in 2000, (the year of the highly contested, closest election in history in which Bush won the deciding state Florida by 537 votes, or .009%), it no longer mattered. We were all Americans. We were in this together.
I remember seeing random Americans pull up to red lights next to us, and we nodded at one another, an unspoken acknowledgement that we were in this together. I remember a desire to hug my fellow Americans for no reason other than the fact that we were both American’s under attack by hateful terrorists.
I remember watching on October 30th, with tears pouring out of my eyes, the President of the the United States of America throwing out the first pitch at Yankee stadium, to a thunderous standing ovation in New York City.
The 19 murderous cowards didn’t care who their victims voted for, or which political party they affiliated with.
So why should we?