Does anyone not remember where they were on Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001 when terrorists crashed into New York City, Arlington, Virg., and Shanksville, Penn.?

One is shocked anew when revisiting video of planes smashing into the towers of the World Trade Center and then those two buildings crumbling down onto the streets of lower Manhattan. Then, Americans were collectively angry and scared. Then, we were all brothers and sisters, sharing in common grief. At once, strangers were like family; families became closer.

Of the many changes wrought by the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, many felt that America had internally changed for the better—we were our brother's keeper. No one was a stranger. We were one. We were America Strong. 

The country has once again been knocked akilter with the COVID-19 pandemic. Our brotherly bonds post-Sept. 11, 2001 frayed as masks and vaccines became a dividing line, politics trumping science. The country became politically and culturally divided long before COVID, but the pandemic makes that division more personal.

Regardless of red statesor blue states, mask mandates or not, we are Americans and have much more in common. Everyone puts their pants on one leg at a time; we all love our children and families. We are loyal to our friends. Every person wants to feel safe and secure. Those are the similarities we should embrace and celebrate.

The horrors of 9-11 will live in our national pysche for decades. What should also be remembered, fostered and preserved is the unity that tragedy brought to every corner of the country on that day.

A national leader once said that enemies foreign or domestic could never defeat the United States; we could only do that ourselves. America is not defeated; it has been knocked down, but the victor is the one who gets back up to fight another day.

Americans are not ready to fold, not by a long shot.        — LAZ