THE MOMENT WE ALL SHARED
On an average Tuesday morning, I was early on my way to a morning college class when the radio announced the unimaginable – a massive fire on the North Tower of One World Trade Center was raging and no one understood why. Some had supposed it was a bomb. Others began to surmise it was more. They thought it was a Cessna or other small plane.
As I pulled up to the north end of the lot, the sun barely shining over the butte, I entered the building just in time to enter the common area. There were several fellow students watching the corner ceiling TV, and I arrived just in time to see an unforgettable sight – as the camera was showing footage and Bryant Gumble interviewed from someone near the North building a second plane hit the South Tower.
Everyone was late to the first class. Our teacher, Dr. Ken Ross said, “today is a terrible day, and I don’t think we are in the mood to sit in a classroom. God be with all of us.” Within a couple of hours our chapel, along with every church building in America was full of people, praying and crying, reaching out to God for peace and comprehension.
That day has been eulogized so much I don’t need to slice more words to describe it. We all know, because we shared it together. But what is rarely talked about is the leadership and inspiration birthed in people, and captured America when we needed it most. When under adversity, even our political adversaries became our comfort and encouragement.
Just months earlier, our nation was embroiled in the most bitter political rancor in a generation. Since Watergate, the country had never been so divided. But that on morning, we were speechless and united.
Later that day, after some brief words comfort and resolve, America was given a gift by its leaders never seen before or since.“God Bless America….”
President Bush offered strength and motivation to the rest of the nation that evening.
Three days later, he visited the cleanup site to review the damage and meet workers. His impromptu speech on a bullhorn to the workers became iconic and the following week he enjoyed a 90% favorability rating.
When was the last time you were inspired by our president?
Some liberals will say it was the night of Barack Obama’s election. Well, I was left out of the euphoria. But seriously, when was the last time you were truly encouraged, brought into the moment and the rest of the nation joined you in feeling proud of your country and it’s people?
Nothing sets the table more than tragedy, and certainly we don’t need more of it to appreciate our neighbors and leaders. Reagan accomplished much the same thing without something so terrible. But it takes a special kind of person in that moment, with that spirit to tell a nation “we can hear you” in a way you can believe. In a way that makes you better.
The only other leader I’ve seen that has shown the same resolve, character and sort of love for people in the face of adversity we saw that day is the man who took Bush’s place as governor when he left Texas to become President. Rick Perry is that sort of man. As governor, Perry showed character and humility in pursuing policies that lifted everyone. Not everyone agreed with him. But none were excluded. No matter how old you were, where you were from, what language you were born with or environment you lived in you succeeded under his leadership. And when the earth tested his mettle through wildfires, explosions, hurricanes, half a million refugees or drought it was the character he had and the God he sought that made him the leader that could draw respect from friend and foe alike. I pledged myself to help him get elected President because I learned to appreciate who he was, not just the unmatched record he has.
A unique individual in politics, he knows how to play the game, but also shapes it. He’s a survivor, but he willingly takes risks. He is principled, but brings people together. And usually his foes exist only because they have either refused to listen, or ignored and rationalized his successes.
I am convinced that today, if America had a tragedy like 9/11, we would still see some of that unity. It’s in our blood, it’s in our land. But it’s not the same anymore. We would flood our churches again, but not for long. Our children would face the realities of good and evil, but soon forget.
We need a leader that can remind us of our best, while learning from the past; to not let go, but neither to dwell there. We don’t need a leader to be great, but a nation thrives on leaders that embody the best of what makes us that way. President Bush was a man for such a time as that, and so was Perry in his time of testing.
14 years later to the day I hope and pray for strength and endurance to rain upon him, the one I feel could truly bring America together in trials and forward in prosperity. If primary voters give him a chance, he can restore how we used to look at the office of President.
America needs someone that inspires us, hears us and knows the Creator’s heart for our people.
We’ve been waiting for it a long time – a leader who truly earned the title by who they are, rather than how they got there. I want my son to have the same moments I did. I was blessed to experience it twice in my lifetime, and I believe the one to do it this time is Rick Perry.
In honor of today, I will not be debating anything or anyone. Please, take the time to watch the videos below and relive how great our country is and was that day:
THE IMAGES SPEAK FOR US
Never forget the 343 firefighters who ran toward the flames to save lives and gave their own in doing it: