Has it really been fourteen years? In my mind’s eye it was just yesterday when Chris Williams, Jan White, and I left our Boston hotel on our way to your Rhode Island client, CVS Pharmacy, and Chris received the call from Joe, her husband: America was under attack. In the days following September 11, 2001, voices in increasing numbers began to say that America and the world would never be the same. How right they were.

What followed in the wake of 9/11 was an unprecedented outpouring of patriotism. Never in my lifetime had I witnessed or experienced such fervor of love and dedication for my country. For the first time in my life, with the exception of the heroics of the moon landings, did a national event transcend the pettiness of politics. Black and white, rich and poor, north and south, east and west, Democratic and Republican, liberal and conservative, Christian and non-Christian were, at least for a brief moment, all alike—we were all Americans. Not hyphenated, not segmented, not divided . . . Americans, all.

But the center could not hold and our character proved too weak. In time, one president would choose a war not chosen for him and another president would choose to end a war our enemies chose not to end. In the years following the terrorists’ attacks on New York and Washington D.C. the bind of patriotism has broken. A new generation, mere children in 2001, has grown up believing that America is an evil nation, that perhaps she deserved what she got on 9/11 because of her gross immorality, her greedy colonialism, and her brutal slavery. And politicians have squandered and abused their power and privilege. What could have been and should have been a righteous and just cause to seek justice for the nearly 3,000 Americans who were murdered that day and to defend American liberty became a political pawn that has wrought unrighteousness and injustice, not only on American citizens but to citizens in the Middle East.

Destabilization in Iraq, Libya, and Egypt; destruction of cultural and religious treasures; and decapitations, rape, and displacement of Christians and other religious minorities in Syria and Iraq—these are the direct results of the events of 9/11 and the political decisions following. All that was asked of us at the time by President Bush was to resume our normal lives—to go on vacation, to make business deals and pay our bills, and to go shopping. Nothing required sacrifice, heroics, or courage. It left a pit in our souls. Today, however, President Obama asks nothing of us, except maybe to pretend that reality isn’t real—that the world isn’t a more dangerous place, that ISIS doesn’t poses a clear and present danger, that America has no moral, ethical, or legal obligation to protect Syrian and Iraqi Christians, or that his Iranian nuclear deal won’t enrich and embolden greater terrorist activity nor prevent the Ayatollah from enriching enough uranium to manufacture nuclear weapons. And we have become soulless.

I invite you to follow me on Twitter @derrickjeter.

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One Response to 9/11 and the American Soul

  1. knight says:

    Well said, articulated my thoughts Thank You!

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