The Power of One

By Kambli Owsley, senior
Hampton High School

   On Sept. 11, 2001, an unimaginable event occurred on United States soil. By hijacking four commercial airplanes, terrorists from the Middle East used American citizens as weapons. The attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon struck fear in Americans all over the country. Although the attacks were devastating, America has never been more united. Across the country, American citizens pulled together. Unified, the citizens of the United States have shown extraordinary support, patriotism, heroism and faith. The outpouring of support shown for the victims, families of the victims, and heroes of the tragedy proves that American citizens genuinely care for each other. Today, America continues to strengthen its freedom beyond what cowardice and hatred can destroy.
   America's support of the New York City Police Department, Fire Department, and other volunteer services has been overwhelming. The brave men and women who entered the Twin Towers were recognized as heroes and will always occupy a sacred place in our hearts and in our history. Members of the New York City Fire Department, Police Department, and EMS workers made great sacrifices during their unselfish acts of bravery. Memorials were given in honor of the heroes that lost their lives in the tragic event. A tearful prayer service was held at Yankee Stadium for the families of the people missing and killed in the attack. Also, all of the volunteers who survived the attack, as well as the men and women serving our country in the armed forces, have earned greater respect from the citizens of the United States. Americans became grateful for these men and women who sacrifice their lives for the freedom and respect of the nation.
   Patriotism has gained a new meaning in America since the tragedy on Sept. 11, 2001. After the mourning had ceased, the American citizens awoke with a new and contagious sense of patriotism. Americans started buying flags and flying them everywhere. During the services at Yankee Stadium, citizens waved their American flags to honor the victims of the terrorist attacks. The colors of the flag -- red, white and blue -- now stood for liberty for all people more than ever before. After the attacks, Americans became proud of their flag, proud of the country, and proud to be Americans. Each American began to feel a responsibility to live their lives with the same courage embraced by those who died in the attacks of the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and the plane that crashed in Pennsylvania.
   Americans have discovered a new faith in each other, in freedom and in the country. America has begun to trust its leaders and to believe in the spirit of America. The eyes of the American citizens are now turned to the Middle East where the armed forces are fighting to defend America's freedom. America's newfound faith in each other has caused citizens to love their friends and families with actions and to love enemies as the Lord commands. Having this faith has helped Americans to help each other, to hold each other, to care for one another, to love one another, and to defeat those who threaten their families, friends, country, and way of life. Ultimately, Americans realized that what makes life special is being able to share their faith in freedom with the people of their nation. America's faith has provided the world with an example of the true meaning of freedom and love.
   The tragic events in New York City, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania put the American citizens' personal problems into an insignificant perspective. Americans are simply happy to be alive and with loved ones. Sept. 11, 2001 changed Americans forever. In one instant, American lives took a turn and caught a glimpse of reality. The tragic event will live long in the memories of both those who witnessed the unspeakable horror and those who watched from their homes, workplaces and schools. Although life's daily activities resumed and the impact of the tragic event lessened in the lives of American citizens, the horror, devastation, helplessness and anger took its inescapable place in the memories of all Americans. Americans have found it in their hearts to embrace each other and to endure throughout the time of change and uncertainty. Now Americans turn to God and pray that our leaders are capable of fair, moral and rational justice and that mankind finds an end to terrorism, hatred and violence.