Millions and millions of words have been written about 9/11/01. What I’m thinking about today though is 9/12/01. Eleven years ago today the events in New York City, Washington, D.C. and Shanksville, PA had begun to set in and we awoke to a changed world. What I remember most about the day after 9/11 was the civility and the unity.
Whether it was a restaurant, the grocery store, a gas station, or a ballgame, there was an obvious kindness between people and it was awesome. Folks were also respectful and thankful towards police officers and firefighters and offered them the well deserved attention that we usually lavish on athletes and entertainers.
For a time, political, racial, economic, and gender lines seemed to disappear. Flags were flown and chants of USA!, USA!, USA! spontaneously broke out at public gatherings. We were unified and resolute and identified ourselves as Americans. Not Republican, not Democrat, not European-American or African-American, but Americans.
Sadly, the civility and the unity waned in the following days and then seemed to disappear completely by the following week. Politicians on both sides of the aisle exploited the tragedy for political gain and engaged in finger pointing of epic proportions. We resumed honking our horns and giving fellow drivers obscene gestures and we resumed our hero worship of ballplayers and movie stars.
Today, the divide in this country seems deeper than any time I can recall in my 40 years. The current presidential election gets nastier by the day, fueled in part by the explosion of social media, and all of the goodwill of the days following that fateful Tuesday is gone.
For me, I’m going to try and be a little more kind to people this afternoon and evening and try to think back to the way I conducted myself on 9/12/01. I am as guilty as anyone of engaging in heated political debate and having strong opinions about folks I disagree with, but today let’s all try and think back to the days following our nation’s tragedy and as a bumper sticker I saw recently says, “Just Be Nice.” I can think of no better way to honor the victims.
Thanks for reading,
Project of the Week, Day, etc. –
Miller-Clapperton recently provided and installed over 136,000 SF of Aluminum Composite, Profiled, Perforated, and Phenolic panels at the Harrah’s Cherokee Hotel & Casino in Cherokee, NC. The expansion of the casino was conducted in multiple phases over several years and our work completed in August.