Ten Years Later, And We Are Not One.

I was 20 years old, a junior in college, that day. I stayed the night before at my then-boyfriend, now-husband’s house that he shared with 3 other guys. A roommate woke us early that morning, a strange, hurried tone in his voice.

“You guys. Planes… just hit…  buildings… in New York. It’s on the TV,” I think that’s what he said. We stumbled out of bed and into the living room.

I watched the smoke billowing out of the side of the 2 towers. I watched as the first building started to collapse. I didn’t comprehend a single fucking thing I was seeing. I could not, simply. could. not. wrap my head around it. I didn’t cry. I was numb.

I went back to sleep.

I had a History Of American Journalism class that day. I skipped it because once I woke back up, about an hour later, I couldn’t unglue myself from the TV. And then I cried. I watched Ashleigh Banfield for hours on end. The vision of her short hair and angular glasses, her petite frame against a background of gnarled metal and falling ashes will forever be burned into my mind.

My professor docked my grade for my absence that day, and told us in the next class that those of us who skipped her History Of American Journalism class on 9/11 let the terrorists win. Huh. And here I was thinking I was, I don’t know, watching American journalists cover a pretty damn historic event.

I called my dad on 9/11 when I heard a rumor gas was going to go up to a shocking $3 a gallon. It was my personal mission to tell everyone I knew to go fill their tanks before it rose so high.

“Jill, gas prices are the least of our worries. The world as you know it just changed forever,” he said. Not in a condescending tone, but in a tone of concern; one that I can only now grasp as I imagine feeling such uncertainty while having children to think of.

And change, it has. It’s not just about the break in the New York skyline. It’s not about all the extra concrete barriers that make navigating streets near the Capitol a nightmare. It’s not about the inevitable clusterfuck that is now anything to do with air travel.

By the evening of 9/11 there were American flags everywhere I looked. They were hanging off of apartment balconies in our college town. They were flying from antennas of cars lined up in long gas lines… because I guess they heard that price-hike rumor, too. You couldn’t find one to buy anywhere.

But, KOMU news director Stacey Woelfel, at the NBC station I would work at the following year as a reporter, made headlines shortly after 9/11 when he banned all reporters and anchors from wearing red, white and blue ribbons and flag pins on air. Many people were appalled. If it was the age of social media back then, there would have been a Twitter shit storm and a Facebook petition with hundreds of thousands of signatures on it in a week.

His reasoning?

Our news broadcasts are not the place for personal statements of support for any cause… no matter how deserving the cause seems to be… Our job is to deliver the news as free from outside influence as possible. – from a memo to KOMU staff by Woelfel days after 9/11

Drawing from what I had learned about the history of American journalism up to that point, I knew he was 100% right, and I fully supported him. I admired him. I was inspired to become a journalist and work at a station that takes a stand like that because journalism like that was going to change the world. 

It turns out, though, that view didn’t seem to gain much popularity. Americans adopted attitudes that made them feel the need to call French Fries “Freedom” Fries, and anyone who didn’t want to bomb the shit out of a country that produced terrorists wasn’t patriotic enough. News outlets began fiercely embracing their “patriotism.”  A few years out of college, and I couldn’t stand what most of journalism looked like.

The world would change that day in ways I couldn’t imagine. On September 11, 2001, I thought we’d be doing good in 10 years if we picked up the pieces, paid respect to the fallen, found Osama, and prevented anything of that magnitude from ever happening again. We’ve done all those things, but we’re far from healed.

I don’t know if it’s just because I’ve come into my own in this post-9/11 era, or if I didn’t pay enough attention as a teenager, but I don’t remember feeling so divided before that day. Sure, we all stood unified for a few weeks, but that didn’t last long. The last 10 years this country has filled itself with hatred, drawing lines around and between groups of people so thick we can’t even meet in the middle of them to pass a budget. Democrat, Republican, Liberal, Conservative- WE ARE ALL TO BLAME.

I saw this Ad Council spot on TV today. It’s similar to the original “I Am An American” PSA that aired 10 days after the attacks.

“Ten years later, we are still one.”
No, no we’re not.

  • Annie - Well said, Jill.ReplyCancel

  • Megyn - I could not agree MORE! Well said! I grew up around politics. My dad was/is a government teacher. He ran for public office. We knew more about the political figures and climate of the country than religion during our childhood. Yet, I never saw as much division as I see these days. It’s like “news” stations are picking dumb little fights just to increase the divide. I had hopes that Obama would help close that divide–a HUGE undertaking. I can see in his eyes during speeches that he’s overwhelmed and fed up. It often feels like the journalists and politicians are less mature than my 3 year old. Maybe we should all send them back to preschool to learn how to treat others with dignity and respect. Or let 3 year old run all this shit. I’m really unsure of which would be more productive in the long run…ReplyCancel

  • Abigail @ Skywaitress - I’ve always said that the terrorists’ goal was not just to take lives on that one day, it was to divide us and change the way we live every single day of our lives.

    In that way they have won, and it makes me so sad.

    Thanks for writing this.ReplyCancel

    • Trinity - I actually took a class on terrorism the following year at the University of Pittsburgh. That’s precisely what the professor [who had been given that class the previous year with a, “Ah, nothing will happen,” that turned into 9/11 a week and a half into the school year] said. Their goal is to create mass hysteria, to divide us and change our way of life.

      In that regard? They won.ReplyCancel

  • Fadra - The divide in this country has been a long time coming. What we saw in 2001 was a brief interruption of unity that faded as quickly as last year’s American Idol winner. Not making light but we are a country with a serious memory problem. If more people educated themselves and acted on what they truly believed from their own personal knowledge, we might all be in a better place.ReplyCancel

  • Christie Haskell - I’m with you. I was young as well, so maybe I was just ignorant of current politics, but I personally feel like the country is even more divided now than ever.ReplyCancel

  • Alena - I wonder that too sometimes. If things were so divided in the 90’s. I was living in a different mental place back then. I “cared” about politics as much as a girl in high school could I suppose. But in my rose colored glasses of adolescence I actually thought we were fairly united.

    But I truly think it was my little subculture that was united. My small Bible belt town. Where almost every one shared the same political, religious opinions. The only TRULY dividing thing I knew about was when Auburn played Alabama.

    For my view of things even politics wasn’t dividing. Republicans and Democrats debated fairly allowed each other to own their opinions. Each side was respectful.

    But I think that was all just the view of life as a teenager. And I really almost would prefer it to be that way. To have this idealistic view of the world. Because it makes me sad to know that the kids that were old enough to know what was going on since 9/11have probably never lived in that world. I lived in a military, republican family. The US was the leading nation in the world. And we set people right when they were wrong.

    Oh how wrong I was. We were divided. And I think the only thing that’s changed is that for the most part in our country now has a higher respect for public servants. {not inserting a political sentence about our government here}

    And because I’ve gone on my should-have-been-a-post length comment I am too tired to reread for grammar and spelling.ReplyCancel

  • Elle - I was in 8th grade when the attacks happened, I remember watching them on TV in my computers class, then again in my next class (math). I didn’t care much about politics at age 13, so I can’t really say anything about prior to that day, but hearing you say that before all of that happened we weren’t as divided gives me hope that one day we’ll back in that position. I can’t get over how freaking ridiculous it is that some people have a problem talking with or being friends with me because we have opposite political views. It’s just so…sad.ReplyCancel

  • TheFeministBreeder - We are totally not one. This country’s future is circling the drain, and I can’t see any of that “hope” or “change” we were promised. People act like America can’t possibly fail. Do they read books? Do they know that Rome fell? I just hope my kids aren’t owned by China by the time they reach adulthood.ReplyCancel

    • Jenny B - Yes, what Gina said. Exactly. Although ironically, I am sure I would be attacked for being unpatriotic if I said that in public.ReplyCancel

    • Emilie Miller - Especially when the people who claim to be the biggest patriots state that they want the country to fail simply so the Obama administration looks bad. Talk about not being united!ReplyCancel

  • Rachel - I absolutely agree with you. I had just turned 12 on 9/11. A few weeks ago someone told me that I was one of the youngest people who would remember what it was like before and understand what 9/11 meant on 9/11. I remember driving down the streets of Amarillo, whereby family lived at the time and feeling such unity in the face of, what was to a 12 year old, overwhelming adversity. Today, at 22, I feel like we have forgotten the lessons we learned the hardest way possible on September 11th. I have become increasingly disillusioned with the current status quo, especially as a recent college grad who has been unable to find a real job. Hopefully, this anniversary will remind us of the unity and the ‘one-ness’ that came following 9/11.ReplyCancel

  • Lynet witty - Great post Jill. Totally agree.ReplyCancel

  • Mandey - I was a junior in high school and our journalism teacher had the tv turned on as I watched the towers fall while in her class. I feel like I’ve changed so much since then but you’re right, things in this country have not gotten any better. I hate the idea of angry and violent patriotism. Just as I felt after we killed Osama, nobody really wins.ReplyCancel

  • Jen - From an “outsider” looking in I have to agree that in the last decade the US has changed and not even remotely close to something better. As a Canadian I remember being shocked when Bush decided to push Canada away and pull Britain in all because we wouldn’t send enough troops to your war…because we were busy acting as peace keepers in other parts of the world. It was very much a ‘If you aren’t 100% with us then you are 100% against us’ mentality.

    I lived in the US (NJ) for a short stint right after 9/11 and there was a lot of comments about how I couldn’t possibly understand what you (Americans) were going through because I was Canadian. That rubbed me the wrong way because I did get it….I think the majority of people got it regardless of what country they were from.ReplyCancel

  • Donna - I can truly say that 9/11 was a day worth skipping classes! I’m Canadian, and can tell you EXACTLY where I was on the freeway (on my way to college), when I heard. I almost hit a bridge pillar in shock. Tests cancelled, as we all huddled in shocked silence listening to the radio. My heart still aches for all the families! Well said Jill!!ReplyCancel

  • Trinity - I still haven’t wrapped my head around it being ten years.

    I was a senior in high school and beyond furious that we weren’t allowed to watch the coverage on the TVs we had in every classroom. I was angry my French teacher said, after the announcement had been made, “Gee, can anyone say terrorism?” and then went about the lesson as though nothing had happened.

    I hadn’t planned to write a post of my own, but that PSA bothers me to the point I might.

    Well said. Thank you for this.ReplyCancel

  • melissa - EXCELLENT post. My God I completely agree with you. I was just discussing it with my father the other day. The weeks after 9/11 this country was so united. Everyone was everyone’s brother, friend, sister. Now? It is a steaming pile of hate and finger pointing. It’s appalling.ReplyCancel

  • nicole - Everyone was united, but it was obviously a false unity. I am disappointed with many things in our country right now. I was disappointed with many things in our country then. I imagine it will always be that way. I would like to think we will come closer to achieving an authentic unity one day. Maybe I’m naive too, but I do think part of what gives us our identity as a nation is the division among us that exists but does not (most of the time) debilitate us as a country. For me, I see hope in the fact that on any given day in any community in our country people rally around those in need and help, in big and small ways. Look at the response to Joplin, MO or AL after the tornadoes. That was not about our government but about regular people seeing a need and meeting it. That is what speaks to me about our country. We’re far from perfect, and living in Texas I am very concerned about the hate and vitriol around immigration, but I haven’t given up hope in the people of our country (the government is a whole other issue though).ReplyCancel

  • Mae - Absolutely. We are not one. We still villify each other daily. Media and journalism in this country have changed so much FOR THE WORSE since that day, and politics has become a filthier word than many curses. We brand each other based on preconceptions and assumptions with alarming regularity. and we’re shockingly comfortable doing so. We are so far from being united, it’s appalling to me that that video was even made.ReplyCancel

  • Holly - I think today is the day I will have stop following your blog. No one likes a person who whines about problems without offering solutions, and to whine about how America is not unified enough for your standards in relation to discussing 9/11 is appalling to me. 9/11 is not the day to complain about how democrats and republicans can’t pass a budget in a timely manner. It’s not the day to complain about how patriotic or not it is to fight a war in another country. It’s a day to sit back and be thankful for what we do have as Americans. We have freedom of speech to write silly blogs about your pin of the week found on pinterest or an enthralling play-by-play of the BlogHer conference which no one else cares about except for other bloggers. We have freedom from oppression under an un-elected ruler so we get to vote for or against the politicians who refuse to pass the budget that no one can agree upon. We are also free to complain about anything and everything all the while not doing any actual work in our communities to help fix the situations we love to complain about. Do you write letters to your political representatives to express your disappointment? Are you on any committees to help fix problems in your own community? Do you volunteer with any charities to help the men and women who are truly struggling in America? Or do you just sit there behind your computer complaining about how not unified we are as Americans and then go about your day enjoying your freedoms as an American but doing nothing to actually help improve America? If you are the latter, congratulations – you really are an American it seems.ReplyCancel

    • Jill - Holly, I don’t blog about politics normally. The point of the blog wasn’t for me to offer up solutions. That doesn’t mean I don’t think we should come together to find solutions. That doesn’t mean that I don’t participate in my local politics and fight for causes I believe in. That doesn’t mean that I just complain while enjoying all my freedoms. It simply means that ad spot spoke to me, it made me think, and these were my heartfelt thoughts. I think the timing of 9/11 has everything to do with it, for me, because I feel like the division of this country accelerated after that moment. And, as I hope I made clear, I think a big part of that has to do with how journalism changed after 9/11. That was the heart of my message. Perhaps it didn’t come through to you. If you continue to be uninterested by what I have to write, please do use your own freedom of choice and choose other blogs to read, but don’t infer from this one post that I am whining and not acting.ReplyCancel

  • Alya - And seeing the profound effect of 9/11 on Americans (and Canadians) just imagine the fear, anger, and paranoia engendered in countries that are bombed and wartorn every day.ReplyCancel

  • Jana - I’m a journalist for a weekly newspaper in Northern Virginia, and your blog post reminded me of an interview I was in with Sen. Mark Warner a few years ago. He mentioned that he thought a huge opportunity was missed after 9/11 when the American people were not asked to help out. He wasn’t talking about blood drives and things to help the recovery effort; he was talking about the opportunity to get the public involved in the Afghanistan war effort. After Pearl Harbor, every American was asked to do his or her part to help the war effort, whether it be by purchasing a war bond, taking over the jobs on the homefront that would be vacated by soldiers leaving to fight, etc. As Americans, we love to rally around a cause. The hunt for Osama Bin Laden and the terrorists in Afghanistan was certainly a cause we could have rallied around on the homefront, but we were never asked to do so in a direct way. I think that removed us a bit from what was going on, then Iraq further removed us and divided us. To me, that was sort of an interesting take on the situation, and it definitely makes sense.ReplyCancel

  • Hannah - America is not a perfect country. We have never been completely united (we even went through a civil war) and we never will be. This is because we are a republic and anyone has the opportunity to speak their mind, or make a difference in their community, city, state, or country. We are FREE and that is what makes America the greatest country in the world and me very proud to be an American. I am so proud of all of those who gave their lives on 9/11 and those who give their lives every day to make sure we stay the land of the free and the home of the brave.ReplyCancel

    • Jill - I did not say, nor did I mean to imply that I am not proud to be an American or not indebted to those who gave their lives and served this country. I just want that to be clear.ReplyCancel

    • Amy - Sorry, but I find it extremely offensive that you say the U.S. is the greatest country in the world, when Australia is just as “free” as you are. Just because your anthem calls you the land of the free doesn’t make you better than the rest of the world. And stating that you are, without any basis in fact, is just racist and ignorant. Yes, you enjoy more freedoms than most other countries, but to say that you are the GREATEST country IN THE WORLD is insulting to the rest of us.

      Australia’s unemployment rate sits at 5.1% (http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs%40.nsf/mf/6202.0?opendocument#from-banner=HL). The U.S.? 9.1% (http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/LNS14000000). That is almost double.

      Australia’s murder rate in 2009 was 1.2 victims per 100,000 persons (http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Products/C26B0EEB1DB291D7CA25773600179F51?opendocument). In the U.S. it was 5.0 victims per 100,000 persons (http://www2.fbi.gov/ucr/cius2009/data/table_01.html). That is more than 4 times Australia’s statistic.

      Everyone in Australia is entitled to health care, be they rich or poor. In the U.S., however, it seems that only the rich have the privilege of health care (correct me if I’m wrong, here). Going to the doctor shouldn’t need to be financially worrying.

      The UN rates Australia third on the Human Development Index (which is based on literacy, life expectancy and wealth). The U.S. comes in at 12. For 15 years, Australia has outperformed the U.S. on the HDI as shown here: http://www.photius.com/rankings/human_developement_index_1975-2005.html

      In Australia, being called a patriot is akin to being called a racist. It is insulting to the majority of Australians. What you have written here, shows exactly why we find patriotism insulting; you make unfounded claims that, truly, can only be described as racist.

      I’m not saying that America isn’t a great country; your people have produced some of the best technology, entertainment and research that the world has seen. At the same time, I’m not trying to say that Australia is better than the U.S., but for you to claim the “World’s Greatest Country” title is foolish. No one can make that claim.

      What makes you better than us?ReplyCancel

      • Amy - Also, please know that I’m not trying to belittle 9/11. This was a tragic event which affected the U.S. and the world in so many ways. I still remember where I was when I found out. The people who were lost that day should still be with us now and it is a tragedy that they’re not. My heart goes out to their families on this anniversary of their loss.ReplyCancel

      • Jenna - Amy-I just wanted to say that I really appreciated your comment! I live in the US, and I take a neutral stance on all political fronts. I firmly believe that no human government can get it 100% right. Though I live in this country, pay my taxes & abide by its laws, at the end of the day my allegiance lies with God’s government.

        Am I thankful that I live in the US? Yes. but I just as easily could have been born in Australia 🙂 Am I ever so glad that I have the freedoms that I do? Yes (though that can change at a moments notice)! Does my heart ache for those who lost their lives on 9/11 (and in every other conflict)? Absolutely. But, as you pointed out, the US is far from perfect. Far from United.

        Thank you, Jill, for this post.ReplyCancel

      • Meghan - Not sure how it’s racist. You’d have to elaborate on that one I think.

        I also think that Jill herself, didn’t claim that America is the greatest country on earth. That’s a claim that has been made for many years by many people before her. Some might also argue that it’s still true. It’s all how you perceive quality of life. You also have to take into consideration that most American’s would never even dream of allowing their country to except any form of socialist governing such as your health care system. To them that would be giving up freedom & to them that would be un-American.

        I agree with you though Jill. I think we are divided as a country. These are unprecedented times & I seriously worry for our future. .ReplyCancel

        • Amy - Meghan, sorry, perhaps racist is not the best word. Bigoted might be more apt. To claim superiority over every other country on the planet is pretty arrogant when the facts say otherwise.

          Also, I meant to mention this in my post, but got side-tracked: In no way am I attacking Jill. I admire her, her post and her honesty about her feelings on this issue. I’m also not solely speaking to Hannah in this post, but to the thousands of people who have stated over the years that America is the greatest country on the planet. Perhaps this wasn’t the correct forum for it, and I apologise to Jill for using her blog in this way. It’s something that has annoyed me for years and seeing it here, I felt the overwhelming urge to comment. Again, sorry Jill.

          If you could explain to me how having a public health care system would be giving up your freedoms, that would be great, as I don’t really get it. The only result to “the people” would be paying more taxes, which happens on a pretty regular basis for other causes anyway, right?

        • Meghan - I’m personally in favor of public healthcare. As someone who is uninsured & lives with diabetes & makes exactly $4,000 too much a year to get any kind of medical assistance through my state I’m all for it. Instead I’m at the mercy of the local healthcare clinic in my county who works on a sliding scale. Although they can help me get my medication they don’t offer the same care that I could get with managing my disease as I would if I had health insurance. I wouldn’t mind paying higher taxes if it meant I could see an Endocrinologist to manage my disease. A lot of Americans believe that health care is a privilege not a right. So I cannot even begin to explain why that would be such a bad thing. Sometimes we need to make sacrifices for the greater good. It’s one reason I agree that America is NOT the greatest country in the world.

    • Annie - Whenever anyone says “America [is] the greatest country in the world” I throw up a little bit in my mouth. No. No, we’re not. The United States is a wonderful place to live, but it is not the top ranked country by any measure. Per capita income? Nope. Education? No, again. Healthcare? Nope. Quality of life? Infant mortality? Life expectancy? No, no and no. Economic freedom? Freedom of press? Sorry, still no.

      I’m very happy to live in the United States, but, no, Hannah, it’s not the greatest country in the world.

      Sources:
      http://data.worldbank.org/
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_freedom_indicesReplyCancel

      • Hannah - Obviously this is my opinion. Having traveled to many other countries I always love coming home to America. I would never want to make any other place in the world my permanent home.ReplyCancel

        • Amy - Fair enough. I can totally see why you would look forward to coming home to the U.S.; I’ve never been lucky enough to travel there, but hope to some day.

          I love coming home to Australia too and couldn’t really imagine living anywhere else, but that doesn’t mean I think Australia is the greatest place in the world, that just means I have grown up in these surroundings; this is what I’m familiar and comfortable with, all my friends and family are here.

  • Hannah - Also, it is outrageous that news anchors were not allowed to wear red, white, and blue ribbons or flag pins on air. Showing support for America is not the same as supporting a cause, it is patriotism. Any citizen should be allowed to express patriotism for their country. I am disappointed in your position on this and think it is ridiculous that you think taking a position like this will help change the world.ReplyCancel

    • Emilie Miller - But, the wearing of our national flag came to represent so much more during that time than simply love for our country. It reflected a desire to have revenge on anyone who represented the “enemy” in our mind and became used as a symbol in the game of who is more patriotic. That is not what a journalist should be doing. It is okay off air, but on air a reporter should be a neutral party. Plus, for many that symbol evoked emotion and that can be blinding – real reporters shouldn’t play on people’s emotions and [albeit not always purposefully] that would do it.ReplyCancel

  • Kim - I am so disappointed in this post.

    I believe 9/11 is a time to reflect, remember, and honor those affected by the tragic events of that day. It’s not a time to demoralize or finger-point. It’s a time to recognize that freedom isn’t free, and many lives are sacrificed to keep our freedoms.

    Maybe you’ve simply come of age in the past 10 years, but this country has certainly faced far greater struggles than an unbalanced budget. 150 years, we were divided by civil war. 50 years ago, the civil rights movement was being fought. Hell, 12 years ago, the president was being impeached. If you consider what is currently going on in Washington as dividing Americans, you are failing to see democracy in action. Democracy is messy, slow, and chaotic, but it is what this country was founded on and what we will continue to fight for. Because democracy equals freedom.

    I’m also confused by this post. Are you upset with the slant journalism has taken over the past ten years? How does that make us “not one?” I see it as two separate issues; the 24-hour news cycle that grew out of 9/11 (complete with running tickers) has become a competition between networks for ratings, hence the sensationalism. Likewise, the unity Americans’ felt after 9/11 was not sustainable, nor should it be. Adversity spurs change, and change is necessary to move forward. Instead of viewing political conflict as a negative, maybe it would be helpful to see it as a catalyst for change in the right direction. I’m also not sure what “hatred” you are referring to, or the ‘lines being drawn.” ? Either way, I’m not sure how taking this position is helpful for anyone, including yourself.ReplyCancel

    • Jill - It’s not so much a position I’ve taken as it is the way I’ve felt. The way I feel. I’m not any less grateful for this country or the sacrifices made just because I’m frustrated with the climate of this country right now. I’m not devaluing the lives lost on 9/11. The 9/11 ad stated we are still one, yet I feel we are more divided than I’ve ever felt in my own lifetime. That was what sparked this post for me.

      As for journalism, I feel like most news outlets have capitalized on Americans longing to classify themselves as one very specific type of person or another, one who supports or doesn’t support, one who is conservative or one who is liberal. Instead of keeping their delivery of news free from outside influences, including those driven by patriotism, they’ve helped to divide us, not bring us together.

      Is it entirely their fault? No. Is this post an anti journalism manifesto? No. Is this me saying I’m not still deeply saddened by what happened 10 years ago and proud to be an American? Absolutely not.

      This is my account of how 9/11 changed the world to me and emotions I’ve felt for 10 years that bubbled up after I saw the ad council psa.ReplyCancel

    • Annie - I don’t think Jill is trying to be ‘helpful’, just stating her thoughts on the divide.

      “Adversity spurs change, and change is necessary to move forward.”

      This is often true, but it seems that recently adversity has paralyzed our government into inaction. Look at the recent debt crisis debate. Both sides dug in their heals refusing to compromise. So while I agree that adversity can be productive, the degree to which this country is currently divided is providing more harm than good. And I agree with Jill, in that the media seem to be capitalizing off our fractured system.ReplyCancel

  • Michelle B - In regards to journalism, I can totally tell which views the major news channel hold. To me, they should report the news as it is and not in the form that swings towards their views.

    I feel that we are divided. It’s sad for me that it takes my brother going overseas to do his part or a coworker’s brother who was one of the soldiers who got Osama to be shot down and killed to be reminded what it is to be an American. I have never felt so much pride for my country and community when everyone came together to raise thousands of dollars for his family. I just hope that I don’t lose this sense of pride in our country.ReplyCancel

  • E - As a history teacher, I find some of these comments very interesting. True, America has never really been a “united” nation but, for most of our history our leaders have been able to rise above the divisions in order to get things done. Please let us not forget that some of the most unique aspects of American democracy were created as a result of compromise. The last time we were so intently focused on divisiveness we fell into civil war.

    I believe the purpose of Jill’s post is not belittle the events of 9/11 but to point out that as a nation we are horribly divided. In part, I blame social media, the 24 hour news cycle now means that there really isn’t time for leaders to compromise because they are too caught up in trying to win the war of sound bites. I also think we’re going to get the type of little kid having a tantrum style politics we’ve got now until we as a people demand more of our leaders, and ourselves.ReplyCancel

  • Amy - The truth behind this post left me very sad.ReplyCancel

  • Rie Conley - I’m an activist. More specifically a Democratic activist within a state that is primarily Republican. The division is so amazingly crystal clear to me and yet, I disagree.

    We are one. We are one people still feeling the pain after this horrific day 10 years later.

    We may not agree on anything politically. We may have separate news channels. We may even hate one another, but one thing we are united within. The pain, the anger, the intense feelings that this day brings.

    I don’t even believe that it is “I am American”. It is “I am human.” Everyone felt this day.ReplyCancel

  • molly - So much to say. So little energy to say it. I was a journalism student at that time too, Jill. Not that I enjoyed what I was seeing but I was constantly changing channels to see what different anchors were reporting. I remember being sick.and.tired. of seeing those planes crash into those buildings by the third week.

    And I completely agree that we were unified for awhile but the hatred and intolerance came back pretty quickly. Faded flags and yellow ribbons around trees. We still don’t respect differences.ReplyCancel

  • Jocelyn - Great post. And I suspected you were a journalism major as soon as I read in a more recent post that you went to Missouri. I was in a journalism class at the University of North Texas that morning and watch the first tower fall from our school’s newspaper office. And then I went home and spent the rest of the day glued to the TV.ReplyCancel

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