Remembering 9-11 in the Wake of 2020

Remember the dark days of despair immediately following 9-11? We were shocked and demoralized. Our nation had been attacked, and the reaction was swift and unequivocal. Our nation collectively focused on the common foe. We grieved, we united, we prayed and we joined hands.

Yes, there was a military and punitive response. Yes, nationalism thrived and there were many calls for revenge but they were tempered and measured, in the main. Our united mood of grief and mourning was accompanied by resolve to
rebuild, restore and move forward. Out of the smoldering ruins and lost lives of the Twin Towers the vast majority, regardless of race, culture, gender and creed unitedly determined to move forward.

Remember how carefully our leaders and nation at large tried, rightly so, to protect the rights and well-being of peace-loving Muslims, carefully making a distinction between them and violent terrorists who co-opted and sullied their faith? Our national leaders rallied against the vicious mob mentality that can result when one segment of the population becomes a scapegoat.

As we observe the 20th anniversary of 9-11 we do so in an entirely different world than that of late 2001 and 2002. We observe the 20th anniversary of 9-11 in the wake of 2020. Whereas the smoldering ruins of the massive destruction in New York City gave birth to unity, the tragic events of 2020 have rekindled fires and aggravated deep fault lines of hatred, animosity and division.

As we look back on 2020, the national unity we recall, in the wake of 9-11, is contrasted with tribalism, animosity and

9-11 brought us together, the legacy of 2020 is tearing us apart.

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