Remembering: I’m Proud to be an American

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September 11, 2001–9/11–We haven’t forgotten where we were, who we were with or what we were doing when we heard the news. For most of us the feelings we had that day and the days to follow have faded. Watching the news this morning, and some of the scenes from 9/11, brought the feelings right back for me. It will be a weekend of remembrance.

I was at a meeting in the school where I taught. Within twenty minutes of hearing about the Twin Towers parents were streaming in to take their children home. In fear of what might happen next, we immediately set up a sign-out table, checking the identification of people coming to take children, insuring each child went with someone they knew. In reality why would any terrorist come to an elementary school in Connecticut and take children? But that is how global the fear became as our country was being attacked.

In the coming hours, days and weeks the fear was replaced with incredible sadness watching the accounts of thousands of lives stolen and families robbed of their loved ones. As a buffer for the sadness our hearts swelled with pride. Pride in the professional and common people who responded in an attempt to save lives; pride in our country. Almost every home, and even cars, donned an American flag. We sang God Bless America, chanted, “USA! USA!” prayed together and felt a closeness that this nation had not experienced in my lifetime, maybe never.

One of our teachers taught her class and the entire school the song, God Bless the USA by Lee Greenwood. (You may remember it from the lyrics I’m Proud to be an American.) I cannot hear that song today without fighting back tears.

I believe it is important for all of us to remember that day. Not just the where and what but the feelings of fear, sadness and pride. Ten years later our country is politically divided and distraught over the state of our economy. So many are struggling and without jobs and we all, right or wrong, focus on blame. For this weekend we need to focus on the great nation that we are; a nation of people, who in an instant, will risk their own lives for the lives of others. Our nation became vulnerable that day and responded with enormous strength; something never to be forgotten.

Let’s appreciate each other, what we have, who we are as individuals, family members, and citizens of this great country. We are privileged to be here and have what we have. Even when we are struggling, we are blessed with so much more than so many.

I want to feel that pride again. I want to remember how brave we have been and can be in the face of adversity; I want to remember that I’m proud to be an American.

Please remember with me. Roberta

Watch this beautiful rendition of God Bless the USA

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