On. Sept. 11, 2001 — exactly 19 years ago— our nation was stunned by a series of brazen attacks by terrorists who wanted to see our way of life destroyed.
I was a Navy SEAL chief stationed in California and was called by a friend who lived on the East Coast. My friend told me to turn on the TV and that we were under attack. When I did, I saw the World Trade Center buildings burning.
I kissed my wife, told her to keep the kids home from school, and drove to the SEAL teams to go to war to defend my family and our nation.
...The French newspaper Le Monde captured the real sentiment best, not only for our country but for the world, with the beautifully written headline: “Nous sommes tous Américains”— “We Are All Americans.”
This gave us all pause to think. Yes, we had been bloodied. Our fellow citizens had been killed by people who wanted to see our way of life replaced with one we had not chosen for ourselves or our children. We were presented with an incredibly challenging set of circumstances, the most troubling one being uncertainty.
But in that moment we realized that we were not broken. We were galvanized as a people and we understood that we would not be bested by the uncertainty we were facing. We knew that when we are united there is nothing we cannot accomplish as a nation. When we respect each other and honestly face our problems in good faith we will prevail.
... When we start seeing each other through the lens of the American flag we will begin to work together once again for a better future for ourselves, our families and our nation.
In his second inaugural address, President Abraham Lincoln was reaching out to a nation that was truly fractured.
Lincoln said: “With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation’s wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan — to do all which may achieve and cherish a just, and a lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations.”
Lincoln knew exactly what needed to be said and when it needed to be said. It is time we listen.
We must get back to Sept. 12.