By: Katherine Sweat Cover Image By: Ann Clothier.
On September 11th, 2001, terrorists attempted to tear this country apart by murdering thousands of people. It seems, however, that the efforts of these cowards failed. A united front, full of diversity- politically, religiously, and racially- became the face of the United States. American flags flew off the shelves and were soon out of stock in stores all over the country as people rushed in to show their national pride and patriotism. Individuals from the Pacific to the Atlantic expressed the utmost support for those affected by the attacks. People on the streets of New York City rallied around the families and friends that so suddenly, and so unexpectedly, lost so much that could never be given back or replaced.
Communities, churches, and schools throughout the nation held fundraising events, giving people the opportunity to donate to the fire and police departments in NYC. East Tennessee raised enough money to purchase a new fire truck. According to the East Tennessee Historical Societies website, “Following the events of September 11, 2001, East Tennesseans contributed more than $940,000 to purchase and equip a 95-foot tower ladder truck for Harlem-based Ladder Company 14, helping the New York City Fire Department (FDNY) replenish the largest vehicles in the city's firefighting fleet.” Powell High School’s choral department held a concert, honoring those who died the day of the attacks… honoring those who gave their lives to serve and protect others. I was sitting in the chorus room as Mr. Kennedy, Powell High School’s choral director, stood back in awe, recalling the hundreds of people that stood silently, applauding pridefully when his group sang, “And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air, gave proof through the night that our flag was still there...” People all across our country felt a sense of patriotism and unity. A sense of if you hurt my family, I’ll punch back. This is something I don’t believe my generation has ever had the privilege of witnessing. The citizens of the United States need to recall these events and rethink the way we present ourselves as a nation today. Let us remember those who were lost. Let us honor those who bravely served. Let us remember and return to the united spirit this nation held. Let us continue to heal.