9/11 is reminder of what unites us as Americans

It’s hard to believe it has been this long already, but 17 years ago today — on Sept. 11, 2001 — our nation suffered a terrorist attack on a scale unprecedented in our history.

Thousands of Americans and citizens of other countries died when hijackers flew commercial airliners into each of the twin towers at the World Trade Center in New York City and into the Pentagon just outside Washington D.C.

Nearly 100 others perished when another hijacked flight — believed to be targeting the Capitol in Washington or the White House – was crashed into a field in Somerset County because the heroic people on board decided to fight back.

In the moments, hours and days that followed, the rest of the world got to see just what America and its people were really made of.

They saw unity. They saw selflessness.

They saw heroism. They saw patriotism.

And they saw — and will continue to see — just how we Americans respond to terrorism.

The world bore witness to the fact that hijackers may have been able to destroy some of our most recognizable buildings, but they couldn’t destroy the American spirit.

Yes, in this day and age, it’s easy to wonder what unites us anymore as Americans.

We see conflict between various groups on TV, online, etc. on a near-constant basis.

But the thing that we have always had in common is the belief that people are born with a right to freedom and that no country lives up to that ideal more than this one.

As we solemnly reflect on that tragic day 17 years ago, may we never forget that which binds us together.