Nineteen years ago today, Americans were waking up after the worst nightmare in modern history. Islamic terrorists had highjacked 4 commercial airliners. Three were crashed into their intended targets: the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center and the Pentagon in Washington D.C. Thanks to the heroic efforts of the doomed passengers on board, the fourth plane crashed into a field in Pennsylvania.

Of the 2,977 victims killed in the September 11 attacks, 412 were first responders and law enforcement, including:

– 343 firefighters (including a chaplain and two paramedics) of the New York City Fire Department (FDNY)
– 37 police officers of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Police Department (PAPD)
– 23 police officers of the New York City Police Department (NYPD)
– 8 emergency medical technicians and paramedics from private emergency medical services
– 1 patrolman from the New York Fire Patrol

In the days and weeks following the attack, patriotism in this nation soared. The New York Times published an article about the unprecedented demand for American flags, saying “Flag Makers Help Bolster Nation’s Morale.”

According to the article, “Americans started buying flags hours after the attacks. Wal-Mart sold 116,000 flags on that Tuesday and 250,000 on Wednesday, compared with 6,400 and 10,000 on the same days a year earlier. By Friday, Sept. 14, Wal-Mart was running out, but still sold 135,000.”

American citizens were in awe of the selfless heroism of first responders and law enforcement. Charities were set up to benefit the survivors and families of the fallen.

Enlistment in the military grew. According to an annual Pentagon survey, there was an eight percent increase in young men likely to enlist immediately after 9/11, which remained high until 2005.

For a while, in the aftermath of 9/11, the motivation for military service completely changed. It was no longer money or a college education.

“It was all about the patriotism,” Army Sgt. Cheri Depenbrock said at the time, “They didn’t care about anything else. Money had nothing do with it. I swear, I think half those kids would have joined if we hadn’t paid them.”

It’s hard to remember those times. Those thousands of young people who’ve taken to the streets to call for “defunding the police” or refusing to recite the Pledge of Allegiance probably don’t. After all, many of them weren’t even born then.

In less than twenty years, we’ve gone from a celebration of America to what feels like vilification.

Major cities are being burned and looted. Statues desecrated and torn down.

Last night during the first game of the NFL season, two national anthems were played.

We now have two national anthems? One for white people, and one for Black? (which according to the AP Style Guide, must now be capitalized). Who is promoting this segregation?

Now, even saying “make America great again” will put you at odds with a large percentage of America. Lots of people think America was never great to begin with.

We’ve sure had our problems, but would it be so bad to go back to that time 19 years ago, when for a while, we were proud to be Americans, proud to display our flag, and proud of those who served in uniform and sacrificed their lives to keeps us safe?

We pray it won’t take another national tragedy to get us back to that point.

(Nine Line is completely honored to donate 100% of the funds raised from this tribute design to the FDNY Fire Family Transport Foundation, the NYC Police Benevolent Association’s Widows and Children’s Fund, & the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

We will never forget the victims, the police officers, the port authority officers, or the firefighters, who lost their lives that fateful day. We will continue to do everything we can for the memories of those we lost, their families, and the survivors. 🇺🇸 )

Help if you can.


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