It doesn’t seem possible, but this coming Saturday, Sept. 11, is the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks. Images of those attacks are seared into American consciousness. We all remember where we were when we heard the news.

Who can forget the disbelief and shock of watching live the falling World Trade towers, seeing the gaping hole in the Pentagon and the smoking plane in the field at Stonycreek Township, Pennsylvania. We stood in awe of the thousands of heroes who stepped forward in rescue efforts.

I hope you remember not just what happened on that fateful day but what happened on days like that Tuesday where, as a country and as freedom-loving people around the world, we stood united.

It didn’t matter if you were a Democrat or a Republican, a liberal, progressive or conservative. It didn’t matter if you were black or white, Latino or Asian. It didn’t matter if you were rich or poor, we stood together united as Americans.

We need to get back to times like that here in the United States. We need to get back to times like that all around the world. It’s an extraordinary privilege to live in a genuinely free society and we need to celebrate that fact.

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We are constantly being reminded that America has never been perfect. Many people are frustrated about its flaws and are angered at the myriad of inequalities and injustices. They are asking: “Where is the United States going?” Gerard Baker, columnist for the Wall Street Journal, wonders how people can show such disdain for America but love being free to do so. What sort of country do these disgruntled people imagine would be better than America? What will it take to make them turn that hate into love for the country?

Some people can’t be satisfied with anything. They find it impossible to see or feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude for what this country has given them. Too many tribes are using every opportunity to lash out by protesting. While peaceful demonstrations are encouraged, too many have an element of bad behavior and mob violence.

We need to be united by the fact that while much of the country stayed home as ordered during the height of the pandemic, workers in hospitals, supermarkets, factories, distribution centers and supply chains went to their jobs and kept the country afloat, oblivious to the political obsessions of their at-home fellow citizens.

Instead, our social and political lives have exploded into disruption. We’re torn apart by issues like cancel culture and the spread of critical race theory. The May 2020 murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis touched a raw nerve and triggered a nationwide awareness of systemic racism and inequality.

We are told by many who live here that the United States is defined by white privilege, xenophobia and ruthless oppression of minorities, but millions of people from Africa, Central and South America, the Middle East and Asia are risking life and limb to live in America.

People with the biggest megaphones today are preaching discourse. They are men and women running our academics, staffing human resources departments for big American companies, the liberal media and the prime-time hosts on cable news.

Disruptors are nearing the tipping point. Some public schools want to use the New York Times’ controversial “1619 Project” as a teaching tool which insists patriotism requires that we face up to our past, including the immorality of slavery and racism which have been distorted and whitewashed from American history.

Seeing America as it was and as it is today shouldn’t make us love our country any less. It should make us love America more, because we can see how much we’ve progressed, even while we see how much further we have to go on the journey to make the ideals a reality.