I wrote this as a tribute to the 9/11 attacks. It also gives you some insight on how I came to be a Republican:
Is there not something mystical about a single event that changes the course of ones life; and at the same time, change the course of history? There was nothing ominous or peculiar about that day. It was a warm, jovial September morning. I distinctly remember waking up that day thinking to myself, “just another day.” I strolled through the school like I normally did. I entered my third hour class as I normally did. Suddenly, a beep came from above and proclaimed, “Teachers, please turn your television on.”
My biology teacher acquiesced to the demand and turned the television to the horror of that day. Clearly, this was no normal day in my life or a normal day in history. It was a defining one.
When the television revealed two burning towers, I did not grasp the magnitude of the situation. I did not recognize the buildings as the World Trade Center buildings. I did not realize that the attack would kill 2,605 people. All I saw was a burning building, not the people inside of it.
After it all sunk in, I saw the clips of people at the highest levels of the towers waving out of the windows, hoping that someone would come and liberate them from their certain death. Some of them, unfortunately, lost all hope and plunged to their death. Though I knew no one personally who died in the attacks on the World Trade Center or the Pentagon, someone did. The victims were mothers and fathers; sons and daughters; friends and lovers. Their loss to someone was irreplaceable.
Though the musty stench of death and carnage was in the air on that clear, sunny day, all hope was not lost. I saw the footage of brave men and women enter the World Trade Center while others ran out. The firefighters saved many lives at the cost of their own. The term “hero” is tossed around too much nowadays; these people taught me the true meaning of the words “hero”, “courage” and “valor.”
In the days after the attack, I, like many other Americans, thought that this was not the end of the attacks. Once I realized the significance of the events, I, like many other Americans, yearned for comfort. We yearned for a leader. We found one in George W. Bush.
He calmed our fears and inspired a nation. He told us that terrorist attacks can “shake the foundations of our biggest buildings, but they cannot touch the foundation of America. These acts shatter steel, but they cannot dent the steel of American resolve.”
In response to a rescue worker that said he could not hear the President, he replied that “I can hear you, the rest of the world can hear you, and the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon.” So they did.
How is it that something so tragic can bring out the best in people? How is that people can find the courage to forfeit their life to save another? How is it that people could find the strength to go on? I could not imagine the sheer terror of knowing that my father, mother, or one of my sisters was in that smoldering building. The stinging pain of not knowing whether or not they made it down the thousands of stairs to safety is nearly as awful then being told they did not.
The attacks molded my convictions then, and they still determine on what I think is essential for our country. It established my allegiance to a leader and a political party.
The attacks of September 11th, 2001 changed my life. It made me understand the great peril that this country faces. It made me understand that what our government does affects the very core of our existence. It made me understand that the worst of one brings the best out of another. It affected all of us in way one or another, and it affects the way we now live.
As the great English statesman Edmund Burke said; “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” The only question is if we are ready to meet the new threats of our time, like other generations met in their time. Only time will reveal the answer.
To all of those who lost their lives on that tragic day…
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