Looking throughout the site, it all appears so uniform. Layers of dingy ash and soot camouflage the nearby buildings and ground. Nearby cars, signs and streets are all the same ashen color. The wave of debris leaves nothing untouched. The nauseating smell of burning rubber permeates throughout the air. It only seems to augment an already adverse situation. In spite of the circumstances, there is still hope. Sirens ring. Crimson fire trucks and ivory ambulances fill the scene. Rescue workers are aiding those who are hurt, and are also searching for survivors. These brave men and women are united in their efforts to help their fellow man, united in doing what they think is right, they are united as Americans. September 11, 2001. Patriotism had not been higher in years. The feelings of unity swept across the nation in the days following the September 11th attacks. Everyone wanted to show support for our fellow Americans: flags lined the streets. Everyone wanted to support our president, and our troops. Everyone demanded justice, for the injustices caused against us. The American public was truly united against terrorism. Fast forward 8 years. Where are we now? Through all the politics, we have lost sight of our main goals. We have become fragmented once again through the passage of time. The American people have forgotten that our greatest strength lies not in the size of our armed forces, or how many nuclear weapons we have, but in the dedication and unity of our populace. From the birth of the nation, to the present day, we have always capitalized on our tendency to unite for a common cause. Perhaps we inherited this trait through our founding fathers. Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams. They all exhibited the ultimate sacrifice when they signed their own death sentences in forming the Declaration of Independence. The fifty six signers of the Declaration of Independence were all united for a just cause – something they were willing to die for. In order for the American Revolution to succeed, they offered their lives in exchange. Their gambit paid off, and they were able to endow future generations with their ideals, hoping we would forge the nation into a tool suitable for the facilitation of our individual liberties, and natural rights. Progressing to the 1940s, In World War II, Americans had a new just cause: Protecting the world against the evils of fascism and communist regimes. The nation was so outraged from the Pearl Harbor attacks that we wanted war. We wanted retribution. Franklin Roosevelt was able to channel this motivation into the home front effort. Men would go to war. Women would go to work. All would have a ration on food and other household goods. We were once again united in our goals, and determined to achieve victory. Through this home front effort, we out produced the rest of the world. Our determination to succeed and unity in this process outmatched that of any European country. Evidently, it was one of our greatest strengths in the war. Through the decades we discovered what it really means to be an American. We forged ourselves an American identity based upon our common values, and our belief in individual liberties and natural rights. We are the result of an enormous social experiment. We are the people that no European country thought would succeed. We are the people who achieved the perceived impossible. Today we stand a shining city on a hill, a reminder of the success of democracy. All eyes have been upon us for the last two hundred and thirty three years. Although other European nations later adopted our form of democracy, they could not copy our American identity- the unity we share during troubled times. Yet, this unity is not as strong as it could be. It emerges only during those troubled times, and then recedes. If we are able to resist fragmentation and place our American ideals first, we will evoke this unity and succeed. I ask you to help make this vision a reality. Let us remember the deaths of those who have fought for this country. Remember not only those who died on 9/11, but those valiant Americans who helped saved hundreds of lives that day. But most of all, remember that our strength, courage, determination, and success are all driven together by a single force, a power so great that it can ensure prosperity and hope for the future: Our American unity.
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