This past week we have truly been the United States

It’s been a week since the horrific terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, and though life will eventually return to normal here in America, it will never be quite the same.
And yet there is reason for hope; the very worst of human nature was followed by the very best of human nature.
Immediately after the first jumbo jet struck the World Trade Center, fire fighters, emergency medical personnel and other rescuers selflessly rushed into harm’s way to aid the injured and dying, and many were killed when the second jetliner cruelly crashed into the World Trade Center, eventually causing both towers to collapse.
Inside the stricken Twin Towers, ordinary people didn’t think of themselves as they aided and helped co-workers, friends and complete strangers out of the 110-story buildings.
There was also heroism in the sky. It appears passengers on a hijacked plane that eventually crashed in Pennsylvania
— killing all on board — fought the terrorists, preventing the plane from hitting its target, possibly the White House.
All across the nation, people — young and old, black and white, rich and poor — offered whatever help they could in response to this brazen attack upon America.
Record numbers of people have shown up at blood banks to donate; people are dipping into their pockets and providing cash donations — as well as food and clothing — to the Red Cross and other relief organizations; people are volunteer-ing for the hard labor that is the recovery and clean-up process; and American businesses are organizing fundraisers and providing goods and services for free.
Last week’s tragedy has unleashed a wave of patriotism not seen since the Gulf War ten years ago, perhaps even longer.
Ever since the terrorist attacks, Americans have taken great pride in displaying the American flag. This past week Old Glory could be seen proudly flying on houses, cars and even on people.
The terrible attacks of Sept. 11 have brought together the people of this nation as few events ever have. Differences quickly melted away, and people realized we are all Americans, period. And a united America is a formidable America.
Though it’s too late now, the terrorists who perpetrated last week’s attacks and those who support them would have done well to heed the words of Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, architect of Japan’s strike on Pearl Harbor in December 1941, who said this about America after the successful attack: “We have awakened a sleeping giant and have instilled in him a terrible resolve.”