Appreciation For Family

By Jessyca Newman, junior
Unaka High School

   The terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 left much of America with a void in their lives, and a sense of fear that something of this proportion could even conceivably happen in the United States.
   Many lost family members, friends and close co-workers. Those of us that were not affected directly by this event still felt the void and the fear as we turned on our TVs and saw such a tragic site. The comparison could be made to that unbelievable day in November 1963, when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. A feeling of disbelief and fear that soon turned to anger. Different aspects of family were bonded together; the traditional family, the church family, and America as a family united by prayer.
   Before the attacks of Sept. 11, the traditional American family and their values were at a rapid decline of importance. People did not spend time with their families, nor did they care. For decades, family values seemed to be at the end of the list of priorities. Speaking from personal experience, when I heard of the attacks I realized that it could just as easily have been my mother, father, aunt, uncle, etc., working in those buildings that wretched day. I think that many other Americans reached the same realization as I did, and I believe that this was a wake-up call for all of America.
   Furthermore, not only were families bonded together but America as a whole began to form an alliance of friends. People from all different religions and ethnic backgrounds forgot their differences, and decided that it wasn't as important as trying to help and comfort people. We began to quit looking at other fellow Americans of different religions and backgrounds as different, but as our friends and allies; people who were on our side and were experiencing the same things that we were. We somehow knew that it was time to lay all differences aside, and bond together to help one another.
   I was fortunate enough to see firsthand the aftermath of this tragedy at the World Trade Center Memorial in the heart of New York City. That confirmed my belief that another important facet took place with the devastation of Sept. 11, and that was our renewed belief in God. People that seemingly did not believe in God or any God began to cry out for a higher power to heal their wounds, and to help them to help others. A great number of those directly affected by the attack, either in the World Trade Center, Pentagon, or onboard one of the airplanes, last words and messages to their families was one of love and a prayer for God to help them, or simply to repeat a verse or scripture they had learned years before.
   In conclusion, the Sept. 11 attacks, and other previous tragedies, are devastating, but they do not crush the spirit or the determination of the American people. With each tragedy, we rise up as a people, become stronger, and stand even more united than before.