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Living up to 9-11

Johnson City Press • Updated Sep 11, 2019 at 9:48 AM

If the events of Sept. 11, 2001, seem like a lifetime ago, consider this: Children born on that day are celebrating their 18th birthdays today.

The kids of 9-11 are adults — adults who have never lived in an America without the spectre of that ghastly chapter in our history.

They also were born, though, into an America newly unified under a sense of loss and resolve. Not since World War II had citizens been more committed to the common threads that bind our culture.

That’s the part that seems especially so far away in 2019.

The new adults of 9-11 live in America more divided than any period since the Civil Rights Era and the Vietnam War. They live in an America where families and friendships are torn apart by bitter partisanship. They live an in America that cannot agree to disagree. They live in an America that refuses to use those common threads to resolve the tensions between us.

Today, we will reflect on the 2,977 lives lost that day, the first-responders who braved unthinkable conditions in service to their fellow Americans and the survivors who live with the aftermath every day.

Why do we dishonor them with our selfish, petty behavior?

On this 18th anniversary of one of our darkest hours, let’s pause. Let’s think of ways to avoid our descent into deeper darkness.

Let’s talk to our neighbors. Let’s stop believing and furthering everything we read on social media. Let’s stop reacting to everything we see, hear and read with anger and vitriol.

Let’s open our minds.

Pollyannas we may be, but this newspaper believes this country remains the greatest social experiment in this planet’s history. America has the structure and core ideals to live up to the promises outlined by the framers.

We can give the new adults of 9-11 a chance to make headway. We can be the nation we thought we were on Sept. 12, 2001. We can be the nation we were intended to be.

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