Sunday marks the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. How has America changed since then? How did 9/11 change faith in America? What impact did 9/11 have on the soul of America?
As I contemplate the changes that have occurred since the tragic events of September 11, 2001, my first thoughts are drawn to long lines at the airport as I remove my shoes and submit first to the pat down and now to the revealing x-rays. We now have terror alerts, cameras on many street corners, and more bomb threats and suicide bombers around the world. We have children being expelled from school for bringing toy guns and rubber knives to school; our country is on edge. The events of that day have made us more aware of our physical surroundings and perhaps less tolerant of others, especially Muslims who have taken the brunt of the criticism.
In the days shortly after the attacks, there was a strong patriotic spirit that pervaded throughout the country; there were also many who began attending their churches and synagogues once again. People were turning to God and we as Americans were turning to each other. There was a greater outpouring of love, shared sacrifice and service. My perception is that much of that was short lived; most who were not directly affected have resumed to “life as normal”. While the daily aspects of life have changed for some with tighten security, I’m not certain that the inner man has changed much.
Scriptures share many examples of people whose hearts are turned to God during a time of crisis and years later they have returned to their old ways. Sometimes this occurs over a few years and on other occasions it may take a generation or two. Ten years later, the soul of America seems to be relatively unchanged; we have been quick to forget the lost lives and promises uttered. Those who put their trust in God before the terrorists attacks continue to do so and those who did not, still do not; generally speaking.
Thomas Monson, the President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints stated on this same subject: “By nature we are vain, frail, and foolish. We sometimes neglect God. Sometimes we fail to keep the commandments that He gives us to make us happy. Sometimes we fail to commune with Him in prayer. Sometimes we forget to succor the poor and the downtrodden who are also His children. And our forgetfulness is very much to our detriment.”
I share this challenge with you from President Monson: “It is constancy that God would have from us. Tragedies are not merely opportunities to give Him a fleeting thought, or for momentary insight to His plan for our happiness. Destruction allows us to rebuild our lives in the way He teaches us, and to become something different than we were. We can make Him the center of our thoughts and His Son, Jesus Christ, the pattern for our behavior. We may not only find faith in God in our sorrow. We may also become faithful to Him in times of calm.”
Let us always remember our God above and give thanks to Him for His goodness and mercy.