22 years ago yesterday, terrorists struck our great nation, four times, resulting in the murder of almost 3,000 Americans. 3,000 Americans who never made it back home. 3,000 fewer Americans chasing the American Dream every day. They were gone, forever, and the America before 9/11 was gone forever too.
That fateful day reshaped the world. Everything changed and nothing will ever be the same again. I've heard people say countless times that they wish they could go back to a world like September 10, 2001. Americans' minds were innocent. They were naive. There was no fear. Americans were trusting of their neighbors. They weren't looking over their shoulder every time they walked down the street. There wasn't an endless war being fought overseas. Nobody thought about airport security. Nobody thought about security at all.
September 11th was one of the darkest days in our country's history, but one of the brightest days was just around the corner. September 12th, 2001 was one of the most patriotic days since we won World War 2. If there was a ranking of patriotism in America, it would be right up there with the day we declared our independence from our friends across the pond, the day Americans walked on the moon, and the day we defeated Hitler. Patriotism was at an all-time high.
Because we were all one people that day - Americans. Nobody cared about what neighborhood you came from, what color you were, what you did for a living, or which candidate you voted for for President. It didn't matter, we were all citizens of the greatest country on the face of the planet, and red, white, and blue were coursing through everybody's veins. Stores, all across the country sold out of American flags. Walmart stores sold 88,000 U.S. flags on September 12, 2001. The day before, they sold 6,400. Americans woke up and remembered why they loved this country, they saw that their freedom and way of life were under attack, and they wanted to defend it. They were genuinely proud of the country they called home.
What happened to that America?
In a recent poll, Axios reports that only 18% of those Americans ages 18-34 said they are "proud to be an American". For comparison, in 2013, 85% of Americans ages 18-29 said they were "extremely" or "very" proud to be an American. Over the past two decades, the number of Americans vocalizing their extreme pride skyrocketed after 9/11, but started to decline in 2005, and is still declining today. A recent Gallup poll reports that Americans 55 and older were three times more likely to be proud of their country than my generation. That's not okay.
Everybody in America right now is looking around wondering what is wrong, because something clearly isn't right. If we want any shot at setting our country back on track, we must revive patriotism and pride in our country. We must resurrect the America that stood together, united as one, the day after the worst attack on U.S. soil, and that starts with my generation creating a sense of pride and dignity in our nation!
Brilyn Hollyhand is a 17-year-old Conservative Commentator and the Founder and Editor in Chief of The Truth Gazette, a conservative news service fighting back against the Fake News Media!
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