The events of Tuesday, Sept. 11, shall forever be remembered. This day will henceforth mark a catastrophic disaster; the moment when the unthinkable become a reality; the moment that America in all her beauty was savagely violated. But this day will also mark the moment in which my generation first saw the true beauty of America revealed. Didn't they know that we do not keep our nation's beauty in the skyline, in the stock market or in the pentagon? We do not keep it locked away and protected by military forces. Our nation's beauty is safely held in each of her citizens. We keep it in our hearts. We keep it in our minds. In attempting to ruin our nation's beauty, these savages unwittingly made New York and Washington, D.C., beautiful as they have never been before.
As the dust began to settle on Manhattan, amid the sirens, the tragedy, the chaos, something wonderful began to germinate. A seedling of "humanness" sprouted through the rubble and began winding its way around New York, and then Washington. Within minutes, the heart of every American had become entangled in this vine of compassion. The societal boundaries of wealth, skin color, gender and religion were blurred. The weeping found comfort in the arms of strangers. The businessman embraced the beggar. The rubble and carnage fertilized compassion, inspiring even small villages far from the scene of the tragedy to raise thousands of dollars in donations and supplies. We have shown one another that we are not a people driven by stock quotations and margin calls, but by an overwhelming desire to survive as a people and as a nation. This is why America is "the beautiful" - not for her economy, or her military, but for the character of her people.
The mutual support and unity induced by this tragedy have made our nation beautiful as I have never seen her. Her beauty is personified in the memories of the firemen, policemen and EMTs who, against all professional judgment, rushed into a building they knew would not stand for long. Her beauty is in the flags sprouting across American cities and towns. Her beauty is in the realization that we cannot be defined as just bankers, cab drivers, homeless or Islamic, but rather we are a surviving people whose hands extend to one another in times of struggle. We are "America the Beautiful!"
David M. Sabow