The AOC Parody Account Is Back From the Dead
House Freedom Caucus Gets Its Revenge for Debt Deal
Karine Jean-Pierre Ends White House Briefing After Question About Biden's Falls
Colorado's Latest Gun Control Antics Might Be the Most Brazen Attempt to Ban...
There Are New Details About the Plane Crash That Triggered a Military Response...
He's Back: Tucker Carlson Releases the First Episode of His New Show
Video From FL's Migrant Flight to CA Pokes Holes in 'Kidnapping' Claims
Why One Democrat Says the Biden Admin Has Done a Good Job Preventing...
Shark Tank Star Explains How Target Saga Will Lead to a 'Complete Change'...
To Ronna, No Plan Is the Plan
Federal Judge Issues a Ruling in Florida State Law Banning Trans 'Medical Care'...
Teachers Are Divided on Whether Arming Themselves Would Make Schools Safer: Poll
Human Rights Campaign Goes Even Further With Its New 'State of Emergency'
The Choice: Criminals Behind Bars or Laundry Detergent Behind Glass
MN School District Hosted ‘Gender Resource Fair’ Knowing It Would Cause Backlash, Document...

Recalling 9/11: We're Not So Divided After All

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

On Sept. 11, 2001, I was driving along the Beltway to a Falls Church, Va., office building when a radio announcer said a plane had flown into the North Tower of the World Trade Center in New York City.

"What a horrible accident," I remember thinking.

I was doing communications work for a big technology company. I parked my car and just as I was getting situated in my cubicle inside the office building, I heard the television blaring in my client's office.

He told me a second plane had flown into the South Tower of the World Trade Center. Soon, we learned that a third plane had flown into the Pentagon.

We took the elevator to the top floor with several others. Only 9 miles from the Pentagon, we could see smoke billowing into the sky.

Radios and TVs were turned up. Local announcers were relaying reports of additional attacks, many of which would turn out to be untrue.

Dulles International Airport was under attack? Reagan National Airport? The White House? The Capitol? How many more hijacked planes were out there? Where would they strike next?

It was total chaos. Here I was in an impersonal office building as people cried, called loved ones, even prayed aloud.

We all experienced the horrific events of 9/11 in different ways and there was nothing special about my experience - except that I was living in the Washington, D.C., region when it happened.

Lucky for me, I had been regularly attending St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Alexandria, Va.

A small church in a rapidly gentrifying area, its mostly black congregation can be described in one word: cheerful.

The first and third Sundays of every month, a 30-person choir belts out gospel music that would fill even the most cynical among us with hope and joy.

Father McBready, an Irishman of the Josephite order, was the pastor there in 2001. His Irish lilt and wit produced many uplifting sermons - none more uplifting than on the first Sunday after the attack.

The church was packed that morning, all of us feeling the same inability to comprehend the violence inflicted on so many innocents.

Father McBready began his sermon by telling us about a wonderful woman whose marriage he had presided over a few years before. She and her husband recently had been blessed with a son - and both she and her son were aboard one of the planes that struck the World Trade Center.

He said that in the midst of such sadness, however, there is hope: Tragedy reduces us to our most basic selves, helping us renew our efforts to lead virtuous lives. It helps us escape the narrowness of ourselves to join together with others to help those in need.

After the choir sang joyously, 200 people held hands and prayed as one. Filled with a renewed sense of hope, we were eager to do something, anything, to help our neighbors in need - donate funds, make sandwiches for first responders at the Pentagon, volunteer our time, etc.

It's been 17 years since the 9/11 tragedy. We appear to be a divided, cynical people, but I don't buy it.

God forbid such an alarming event ever happens in America again. But if it does, millions of Americans from every walk of life will come together as one to help our neighbors in need.

Just as we did after 9/11.

Join the conversation as a VIP Member


Trending on Townhall Video