This past Monday, as the nation solemnly remembered the 16th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, we also linked arms to recover from two devastating hurricanes.
Be it in response to attacks on our way of life or natural crises that batter our shores, the American spirit is always ready to rebound and forge ahead. We demonstrate grit and resolve.
We're dirtied but not beaten.
On 9/11, thousands of people, many of whose names we'll never know, rushed into the crumbling rubble of the World Trade Center towers and the Pentagon, risking life and limb to rescue people. Aboard United Flight 93, passengers gave their lives in a desperate struggle to prevent hijackers from diverting a fourth commercial airliner from targeting the White House, an act of bravery for which this country is forever grateful.
Even after all these years, the 9/11 attacks, the most deadly terrorist attack on U.S. soil, seem surreal. It was an unthinkable moment: nearly 3,000 lives wiped away in a single day. Thousands answered the call, including police from departments all over the nation who drove through the night to backstop their brethren in New York City. We rebuilt; we didn't cower in defeat.
Sixteen years later, again during the first year of a new administration, we find the heroes of Hurricane Harvey and Irma in Americans cut from the same selfless cloth.
Again, professional first responders and average citizens faced challenges they didn't seek and performed admirably, like the self-styled Cajun Navy, which plucked a 73-year-old woman found floating face-down from Harvey's waters in Texas. And we'll learn of more stories as the waters recede and emergency workers assess the aftermath of Irma's violent path through Florida and beyond.
Many of the rescuers eventually will return to flood-devastated homes, but in the moment of greatest need, they have put their own plight on the back burner in the interest of helping others. If there is a saving grace from Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, it is that the loss of life appears relatively small, given the torrential winds and water surges across Texas and Florida.
And, yes, we will rebuild. As William Shakespeare once penned, "Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and others have greatness thrust upon them."
In such times of national crisis, the American spirit shows its greatness.
We honor the fallen and we carry on. That's what we do.
This editorial is from The Dallas Morning News via The Associated Press.