Altar Call - Opelika-Auburn News
Walter Albritton
September 23, 2001

Terrorist attack responsible for new unity among the American people

Most people have ever seen anything more horrible than the terrorist attack upon America. It still seems impossible to believe. We keep wishing we might wake up and find that it was a bad dream. Yet some good has come out of it, and for that we can be thankful.

We have witnessed the incredible resiliency of the American spirit. The fire fighters and rescue workers in New York City have re-written the meaning of the word "hero." As long as any of us live, when we think of heroes, the images in our minds will be those of the brave ones who died trying to help others escape the horror of "ground zero."

We have watched the members of Congress forget their political differences and come together in solid support of President George W. Bush. All of them realize that this is not a time for partisan politics but a time for statesmanship.

We have cheered the resolve of the Mayor and other leaders of New York City to work together to rebuild this great city and overcome this great tragedy. We have watched with admiration as hundreds of men and women have worked tirelessly to search for bodies and haul out tons of debris so that the rebuilding can begin.

We listened with sadness, and yet with pride, as our President drew a line in the sand as he spoke to Congress, and boldly declared to the world that our nation will not rest until the world has been freed of the evil threat of terrorism. We felt a new unity as the American people.

In the services of prayer and remembrance that followed the terrorist attacks of September 11, I felt an incredible sense of oneness with other people, in our city and throughout America. As some 300 of us prayed together in First Baptist Church in Opelika on a Saturday morning, I felt a unity of mind and heart I had never experienced before.

That morning our differences seemed to melt away in the face of the national tragedy which had wounded us all. We were not Democrats and Republicans. We were not blacks and whites. We were not Methodists, Baptists, or Catholics. We were Americans! And we were united by the God to whom we all turned as we sang. "God Bless America."

In these days of numbness and bewilderment I am thankful for every sign of hope that God is working for good in evil that has fallen upon our nation. The new unity which has brought many of us closer together as brothers and sisters is surely a reminder that even as we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, we are not alone.

For that we can be thankful despite our sadness.