September 11 marked the tenth year of my arrival in the United States and the beginning of my American Dream. That day also is indelibly etched in the collective consciousness of the nation – On September 11, 2001, 19 radical Islamic terrorists hijacked four fuel-loaded US commercial airplanes bound for West Coast destinations and slammed them against the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York; the Pentagon, in Washington D.C., and thanks to the bravery of a small group of heroes aboard the third plane, the terrorists failed to reach their intended target, presumably the White House, and the aircraft fell to the ground in the fields of Pennsylvania. Close to 3,000 innocent victims were killed between New York City, Washington, DC and outside of Shanksville, Pennsylvania. During the decade since elapsed, I have been a witness to American resilience, one of the salient traits of this great people, who refused to be defeated by the horrific terrorist act or disheartened by a tragedy of such historical proportions.
Let’s pray for America – the greatest country in the world. As a foreigner living in the United States, I always tell my relatives in China, and my friends in this country, that America is the best, greatest nation on Earth; that has been my experience. Although the 2016 Presidential election had its share of ugly moments when people lost civility and attacked each other for political reasons, most of the voices I heard proclaimed “This is MY America,” “America is the best country in the world,” “This is the greatest country and we will make America greater.” I was also moved and impressed to see people of different ethnicity and backgrounds join in their praise for America.
Let’s pray for America – one nation under God. Americans area generous, honest, brave, and kind people. My experiences living in this country have been phenomenal, and have helped me better understand what means to be an American. My spiritual godmother sends me food packages from Idaho every two or three months; my academic adviser in Ohio has spent weekends helping me with my dissertations and proposal writings; my friends from Athens have driven me thousands of miles back and forth for my internship. They are all White. Every time I feel discouraged with my school work, my Black friends give me suggestions and encourage me. I have a Hispanic church family, mostly from Mexico and El Salvador, who have opened their homes to me time and again: “Mi Casa es Su Casa (Our Home is Your Home).” That is what makes America great!
Let’s pray for the nearly 3,000 people killed in the 911 terrorist attack. A few days ago, I met a man on campus who told me the most touching story about his relative Welles Crowther. Welles, a 24-year-old rookie equities trader from Upper Nyack, N.Y., died in the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001. He had been a volunteer firefighter since he was 16 years old. He became known as the Man in the Red Bandana, for the handkerchief he wore as a protective mask while assuming a rescuer’s role in the South Tower before it collapsed. He helped at least 10 people escape the tower in several trips up and down stairwells, before perishing alongside a group of New York City firefighters. Hundreds of good people like Welles died in that brutal attack. Let’s pray for them and their families. May God bless them!
May we never forget!
May God bless America!