September 11, 2001...this was the day that the United States learned of a new type of fear. This was the day when the United States of America was attacked on our own soil. We learned what terrorism was, and what true evil can look like. For the first time since becoming a nation, the USA was not untouchable, and someone with hostile intentions did damage not just to New York, and not just to the Pentagon, but to an entire nation.

As a second grader at the time of the attacks, I didn't understand all aspects of what happened, and quite honestly, I'm glad that I didn't at that time. But what I did know, and what I did learn during that time, is that someone did something so evil, so hateful, that it shook an entire country in one day.

But that wasn't the most important thing that I learned from that day. I learned things that still resonate to this day. I learned that those attacks didn't just teach us fear. They didn't just teach us that we weren't invincible. Those attacks taught us true patriotism. They taught us to look past our differences. At that point there was no black/white, rich/poor, Republican/Democrat, [insert differences here]. No, at that point, we were Americans. There were people hurting - physically, mentally, spiritually - and America banded together. You see, the ones that came to do damage to America, they did damage. They came to bring fear and death to Americans. And they did. They wanted us to give up, but we didn't. With every story of bravery that came out over the next few weeks, months, and years, of the police officers, firefighters, EMS workers, and others that gave their not only their time and resources, but gave their lives for others, we became a new America. They created the very thing that they were trying to destroy.We became an America more powerful than anything we had ever experienced before. We became our brothers' keepers, and even if we couldn't physically be there, we were there to pray and console those that were immediately affected. So yes, that time was rough. We were broken. But broken things can be mended. And they were. We learned just how powerful we could be, because there's strength in numbers.

I began learning these lessons on September 11, 2001, and I continue to look back and learn from them even today, 17 years later. While we learned what fear is, we also learned patriotism and power. We rallied, and embraced the fact that we live in the greatest country in the world. So, we fly our flags high, we wear our red, white, and blue, and we celebrate our freedom. We remember the ones from that day that gave their lives for others, both on those planes and on the ground. We will forever see them as heroes.

If anything in this is offensive to you, it was not meant to be that way. However, I will not apologize for it. This is America, and as Americans, we should be quite proud of our story, which is what September 11th has become. Part of our story.

God bless the United States of America.

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