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Seventeen years after that fateful day when America was attacked by terrorists, the nation still remembers very clearly what they were doing and where they were at the moment they heard that two planes hit the twin towers in New York.
Charlie Daniels has spent a great deal of time reflecting on what it means to be an American and the 9/11 attacks have clearly left their mark on him.
In a piece published on CNS News, Daniels shared his memories and thoughts on the day America changed forever.
Like many of us, Daniels’ first thought when he heard a plane crashed into the first tower was that a terrible accident had taken place. But after the second crash, he knew. America was under attack.
Like most Americans, he was outraged at the idea any country would attack his own.
“As our anger boiled, our patriotism bubbled to the top, and America came together as I had not experienced it since the ‘we’re all in this thing together’ days of the Second World War,” he wrote.
His vivid memory of flags flying everywhere draws a stark contrast between the patriotism of 2001 and that of today, when we find ourselves embroiled in the taking-a-knee controversy at NFL football games.
“Absolutely nobody would have had the guts to kneel during the playing of the National Anthem then, and American flags were on display everywhere,” Daniels said.
“All the stores were sold out of American flags,” he added. “You couldn’t buy one anywhere, and many newspapers printed a full-page flag so people could at least have a paper one.”
“America was locked and loaded and ready to rain vengeance down on the guilty. Our military was on high alert, all non-military air traffic was grounded, the president was moved to a safe strategic site and we all became ‘minutemen’ to some extent that day as shotguns and rifles were within easy reach. We watched the sky and the streets.”
Daniels also highlighted the contrast between today’s leadership of President Donald Trump and the previous administration of Barack Obama.
“A lot has happened in these short 17 years. We have fought two wars, both by someone else’s rules of engagement, in many instances tying the hands of our military in a ‘damned if you do, damned if you don’t’ situation that made a clear win in either war impossible,” he wrote.
“We had a president for eight years who started his term by bowing to the king of a country where the scumbags who flew the planes that killed nearly 3,000 Americans in one fell swoop were born.”
“So here we are in 2018,” he added, “still the number one terrorist target in the world, with a new president who has wreaked havoc on ISIS, revoked the ridiculously one-sided treaty with Iran, beefed up our military, and, so far, has stood behind the things he has said he was going to.”
Daniels has an optimistic outlook for the future of America after the attacks, and our current no-nonsense leadership in the White House has a lot to do with that.
He feels the peace-through-strength message coming from the Trump administration resonates around the world and makes the U.S. a safer place than in years past. And I can’t say that I disagree.
We’ve had a lot of ups and downs since the 2001 attacks, but I agree with Daniels. Americans are patriots and we would “react with instant and white-hot fury to any attack on America.”
And after all these years, we haven’t lost the spirit that keeps America first in our hearts.