Running the Option U.S. Spirit Will Prevail

As most of the Georgetown University community woke up Tuesday morning, our world had already been changed forever in fundamental ways because of a brutal, unprovoked attack on our civilians by an unknown group of terrorists.

For those of us on campus at the time, the Hilltop that we normally revere became a curse, giving us an unwanted firsthand view of the massive carnage wrought by these unholy acts.

It is impossible at this early juncture to put into words the effect of that day on our nation, our community and ourselves. Certainly, the images of that day will remain burned in our collective consciousness for as long as we all live. By the grace of God, nothing will ever supercede this as the worst day in American history.

For our generation, this was a particularly harrowing and frightening event. It was the first time we have ever been forced to deal with the wholesale loss of life at the hands of an enemy. Our grandparents had World War II and our parents had Vietnam, during which they experienced the unforgettable sense of loss on such a large scale. We hadn’t.

We learned Tuesday.

But as inconceivable and abhorrent as Tuesday was, there is a glimmer of hope and pride to be found among the heartache.

America responded like the great nation that we are. The federal government acted swiftly to both contain the remaining threat and assuage a fearful nation.

Most importantly the American people showed that we are not, as our critics would have it, lazy, apathetic or consumed only with ourselves. We are first and foremost a nation of compassion, a nation dedicated to the fundamental value of each of our people and a nation of indefatigable spirit.

Out of the rubble caused by the worst of human scum came the finest of the American spirit.

There is no greater testimony to what it is to be American than the courage displayed by the men and women of the emergency response system. More than three hundred of New York’s Bravest proved themselves to be just that by paying the ultimate sacrifice, rushing in to a collapsing building when common sense demanded fleeing.

CBS News related the account of New York Governor George Pataki visting an injured firefighter at a hospital in New York. Pataki asked him what compelled his uncommon action. “What did you expect,” the firefighter responded, “I’m a New Yorker.”

The secretary of defense, instead of fleeing to a secure location, assisted victims at the Pentagon without a second thought.

American heroes worked to prevent further tragedy at the expense of their own lives when they downed a hijacked airliner outside of Pittsburgh.

Countless Americans volunteered to give blood, so much so that lines in New York were five hours long. We were down, but not out.

Another fact from which we can take a modicum of solace is that the terrorists made a fundamental miscalculation. They assumed that we as a people would crumble alongside our buildings. They assumed that they could change our way of life. They assumed that we would react how they would react, with cowardice.

They were wrong.

There is no force on the planet stronger than the American spirit. It is stronger than hate, stronger than terror and far stronger than whoever is responsible for our pain.

And it will persevere through this struggle. We will fight. We will heal. We will not allow terrorists to intimidate us. We will go on.

This is a sports column, but this is obviously not the time to discuss Michael Jordan or Barry Bonds; it is a time for healing. But soon, there will be a time for sport again. As soon as it is safe, Major League Baseball, America’s pastime, must resume play. So too must football and college athletics, whenever possible. Terrorists cannot paralyze us, hard though they try.

And when they play again, before each game the Star Spangled Banner will be sung. For all of us, that song should have a new and frightening relevance.

In that song, Francis Scott Key described the scene at Fort cHenry during the War of 1812 and the pride he felt the next morning when, despite the nightmares of battle, the flag flew proud, if tattered.

Late Tuesday night, NBC News showed an image that may eclipse Key’s account. From midtown Manhattan, the camera panned down to the smoldering rubble of what was the World Trade Center. As the picture came into focus, the American flag appeared. It was tattered, burned and riddled with holes.

But it flew.

The proud symbol of American resolve, it flew then as it did onday, does today and will for an infinite number of tomorrows.

Have a reaction to this article? Write a letter to the editor.

Comments are closed.

Running the Option U.S. Spirit Will Prevail

As most of the Georgetown University community woke up Tuesday morning, our world had already been changed forever in fundamental ways because of a brutal, unprovoked attack on our civilians by an unknown group of terrorists.

For those of us on campus at the time, the Hilltop that we normally revere became a curse, giving us an unwanted firsthand view of the massive carnage wrought by these unholy acts.

It is impossible at this early juncture to put into words the effect of that day on our nation, our community and ourselves. Certainly, the images of that day will remain burned in our collective consciousness for as long as we all live. By the grace of God, nothing will ever supercede this as the worst day in American history.

For our generation, this was a particularly harrowing and frightening event. It was the first time we have ever been forced to deal with the wholesale loss of life at the hands of an enemy. Our grandparents had World War II and our parents had Vietnam, during which they experienced the unforgettable sense of loss on such a large scale. We hadn’t.

We learned Tuesday.

But as inconceivable and abhorrent as Tuesday was, there is a glimmer of hope and pride to be found among the heartache.

America responded like the great nation that we are. The federal government acted swiftly to both contain the remaining threat and assuage a fearful nation.

Most importantly the American people showed that we are not, as our critics would have it, lazy, apathetic or consumed only with ourselves. We are first and foremost a nation of compassion, a nation dedicated to the fundamental value of each of our people and a nation of indefatigable spirit.

Out of the rubble caused by the worst of human scum came the finest of the American spirit.

There is no greater testimony to what it is to be American than the courage displayed by the men and women of the emergency response system. More than three hundred of New York’s Bravest proved themselves to be just that by paying the ultimate sacrifice, rushing in to a collapsing building when common sense demanded fleeing.

CBS News related the account of New York Governor George Pataki visting an injured firefighter at a hospital in New York. Pataki asked him what compelled his uncommon action. “What did you expect,” the firefighter responded, “I’m a New Yorker.”

The secretary of defense, instead of fleeing to a secure location, assisted victims at the Pentagon without a second thought.

American heroes worked to prevent further tragedy at the expense of their own lives when they downed a hijacked airliner outside of Pittsburgh.

Countless Americans volunteered to give blood, so much so that lines in New York were five hours long. We were down, but not out.

Another fact from which we can take a modicum of solace is that the terrorists made a fundamental miscalculation. They assumed that we as a people would crumble alongside our buildings. They assumed that they could change our way of life. They assumed that we would react how they would react, with cowardice.

They were wrong.

There is no force on the planet stronger than the American spirit. It is stronger than hate, stronger than terror and far stronger than whoever is responsible for our pain.

And it will persevere through this struggle. We will fight. We will heal. We will not allow terrorists to intimidate us. We will go on.

This is a sports column, but this is obviously not the time to discuss Michael Jordan or Barry Bonds; it is a time for healing. But soon, there will be a time for sport again. As soon as it is safe, Major League Baseball, America’s pastime, must resume play. So too must football and college athletics, whenever possible. Terrorists cannot paralyze us, hard though they try.

And when they play again, before each game the Star Spangled Banner will be sung. For all of us, that song should have a new and frightening relevance.

In that song, Francis Scott Key described the scene at Fort cHenry during the War of 1812 and the pride he felt the next morning when, despite the nightmares of battle, the flag flew proud, if tattered.

Late Tuesday night, NBC News showed an image that may eclipse Key’s account. From midtown Manhattan, the camera panned down to the smoldering rubble of what was the World Trade Center. As the picture came into focus, the American flag appeared. It was tattered, burned and riddled with holes.

But it flew.

The proud symbol of American resolve, it flew then as it did onday, does today and will for an infinite number of tomorrows.

Have a reaction to this article? Write a letter to the editor.

Comments are closed.