Throughout the course of our history there stand those reminders of what the American spirit is and means. Americans are forged the strongest when we’re in the middle of the fire. That has been proven thousands of times in our history. Our spirit soars in the face of the storm.
One thing about eagles that make them so fitting to be our national bird, is the fact that the American bald eagle is the only bird that doesn’t seek shelter in a storm. It flies directly into the storm, and uses the power of the storm to make it fly.
That is my America. It is what sets us apart from all other nations. We seek no shelter in the face of the storm. We head toward the storm, fearless and determined.
Scattered throughout our history, stand tall and ominously, storms that tried to destroy us, but failed. Perhaps they are placed there—written in the annals of history—for the sole purpose of reminding us of the courage and durability that flows in our veins, as Americans. These tragedies have been immortalized in history with the same haunting cry:
Remember the Boston Massacre!
Remember the Alamo!
Remember the Maine!
Remember Pearl Harbor!
We have been through so many storms as a nation, yet these particular times stand out as both beacons of tragedy and of hope. Perhaps their sole purpose is to remind us when the storms come, to charge straight ahead. Never faltering, never second guessing. Just charging head-on into the enemy who dared cross us.
When others crumble beneath the weight of the storm, we grit our teeth and push forward. When some would flee to safety, we run toward the danger, with full intention to give it a taste of its own medicine. Some seek for a protector, we offer ourselves as a shield.
Courage. Endurance. Bravery. Valor. Fortitude.
It is the American Spirit. It’s in our blood.
These moments of darkness in our history, only serve to remind me that Americans are a determined breed. Our spirit is seen blazing through the darkest parts of our existence.
It can be seen in the first Patriots, who stood up and told King George that they wouldn’t bow under his abuse anymore. In those courageous few who held their ground within the walls of the Alamo. In the cry of outrage heard when the battleship Maine exploded. In the courage portrayed by the Greatest Generation as they fought a daunting enemy, but vowed to avenge Pearl Harbor.
The torch was passed to the generations of the twenty-first century twenty-one years ago today. America watched in horror as the World Trade Center was brought to the ground and our Pentagon was hit.
Crippled by fear? Beat into submission by those who sought us harm? No.
We grit our teeth and vowed we’d never forget. The world was watching, waiting to see what we’d do. With a fierce warrior cry and a fire that blazed in our tear filled eyes, we rose up and took the storm head on. We stormed the gates of evil with every ounce of strength we had.
Our spirit can be seen in the first responders who went to ground zero. In the civilians who volunteered to help them. In the actions of the heroes of Flight 93, who fought back against their terrorist hijackers instead of simply becoming victims. In the thousands of soldiers, sailors, marines, and airmen who have defended their nation in the War on Terror.
It can be seen in the heroic actions of the men in the embassy during the Benghazi attack, eleven years to the day the twin towers collapsed. Our presidential administration wouldn’t protect the embassy, but they would. They were faced with a storm and they took it head on with courage and valor. Their bravery will never be forgotten. Nor will the fact that they were betrayed by those in our government. We will not forget.
The question is, have you forgotten the determination and valor with which we have faced dire circumstances before? It’s Patriot Day. We have a heritage to be proud of. Let us never forget.
A. M. Watson