This I Believe

Jon - Indianola, Iowa
Entered on September 13, 2006

I believe in our country. I believe that our country can face tragedies and still remain strong and unified.

On September 11, 2001, I was sitting in my high Spanish class when I heard the news of the planes crashing into the world trade centers. There were gasps, shock, and instant fear in the voices of my friends. My initial thoughts jumped from, “Is this World War III?” to “Oh my God, I just turned eighteen and I am going to have go into the army!”

Looking back at the tragedy of September 11, I always wonder why I was that selfish. As men and women were dying in the buildings and firemen and policemen were risking their lives to save them, I could only think about myself. I am sure that I am not alone with this guilt, but I have to carry the burden of my own. This event marked the face of my young generation. Is it at these tough times that we see the beginning of leaders and heroes for my generation? If it is, I certainly failed to be a hero that day.

Every day that I think of September 11, I remember the heroes that were evident on that day. How can we ever forget about the firemen and the policemen that risked their lives that day? As those buildings were on fire and collapsing, they continued to run forward to save lives. They were not worried that this would possibly be the day that they lost their life. Their thoughts were focused on those that would lose their lives if these heroes did not run into the burning buildings.

The heroes of September 11 did not stop with the firemen and policemen. I forget momentarily the leadership that the state and federal leaders showed, or the strength of the families that lost loved ones, or the hearts of businesses and volunteers that donated money and time, or even the high school Spanish teachers that were a rock for scared high school students. The tragedy of September 11 may have been one of the worst in America’s history, yet the aftermath brought out the finest in our country.

The courage and heroes of this day showed me that I could believe. I believe in my country, in the everyday heroes, and the heroes that risk their lives for people they do not know. These heroes showed me that my country is greater that myself. It is not just a place but an ideal that we strive for. I do not just live in America, I am an American. Overall, I believe in my America and I believe that we will always remain strong and unified through the triumph of our heroes.