A decade later, still proud to be an American

With the tenth anniversary of 9/11 looming over the United States, one begins to reflect on life over the past decade. Americans had their lives turned around on that dreadful day, and a lot has changed in this country as a result. Some transformed the experience into a meaningful one, while some did their best to drag the country down further.

On one hand, our government has seen better days. 9/11 began an era of skepticism and violation within the White House. In the name of defense, government agents invaded our phone lines and made us vulnerable in airports. One wrong word was picked up in an instant, and people were just as instantly victimized for it.

Furthermore, our defense turned partially into a torture regime as we abused prisoners in Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib. Soldiers and agents didn’t acknowledge the standards of freedom and fairness in this country and were blinded by the desire to decimate wanted men. By engaging in this behavior, they stooped to the level of the group who attacked us and soiled America’s reputation.

The attacks additionally managed to cloud the judgment of government officials. While citizens were protesting an oppressive government in Yemen, the United States sat back in the name of antiterrorism. President Barack Obama was unwilling to make an exception and help the citizens of Yemen because he didn’t want to jeopardize one of many allies in the fight against Al Qaeda.   

The government has also allowed the promotion of unwarranted Islamophobia seen on the news. Muslims have been mercilessly attacked because of the unfair ideas instilled in the American people. The United States was not attacked by a collective religion; it was attacked in the name of extremism. By lessening its tolerance toward this group of people, the government has lessened its merit and caused some Americans to turn into hateful bigots. 

Fortunately, with darkness there is always light, even in the realm of tragedy. While the government tarnished America’s reputation, Americans themselves redeemed it. 9/11 hit people with an immense sense of moroseness, but it also empowered us. We had a sense of purpose and were determined to put our country back on its feet. Technology soared as people worked to find ways to utilize it for our safety. People sought methods of helping each other like never before, and, slowly but surely, were able to put this country on the path toward redemption.

The bond created through all this giving has blossomed into an intense nationalism that the United States hadn’t seen for decades. As the sadness passed, a twinkle in every American’s eye started to appear when talking about their country. Fourth of July ceremonies have become beautiful rituals. Even devout cynics have shed their cynicism to take part in the outbreak of patriotism swarming the country.

Looking back through the last decade, united we stand. Despite the shortcomings and letdowns of the government, people of the  United States stand strong. Enemies can attempt to break us down, but they will never extract our spirit. Ten years later, and we are once again proud to be strong Americans.