Commemorating the Part of America that Cannot Be Extinguished

A 9/11 Retrospective

By Sheryl Devereaux, US Daily Review Contributor

As we reflect on the 10 years that have passed, 9-11 reminds me of some unique and powerful qualities of America that exist nowhere else in the world.

One of the most important of those is dominantly overlooked, and quite honestly, underestimated by the rest of the world. The American people have a fiercely independent spirit that is the fuel that feeds our creativity, our ingenuity, and our determination to win at anything we put our minds to. But most importantly, that fierce independence is what fuels the ability of Americans to defend another’s life before our own—sometimes standing up to anyone who wrongs us or our friends.

We have always been that way—as far back as this nation was conceived, and even in early colonial days.  King George also greatly underestimated that quality, not realizing until it was too late that those who came here from England were distinctly different from their former countrymen.  Japan, Germany, China, and many other countries have underestimated our fierce independence and what its produces, when after being attacked by them, we not only didn’t surrender but defended ourselves and all our friends. And one further: after overcoming our attackers, we have, without exception, rebuilt those countries.

I am reminded that Americans think nothing of sacrificing their lives for the greater cause. But Americans who sacrifice their lives do so to save other lives—not to take them.  I am reminded that we as a people value life and liberty and that they don’t just go hand in hand, they are one and the same.

Tears still well up for me, when I recall—as if it were yesterday, the voices of unwitting heroes who willingly grounded their jet after they discovered it was to be the tool used to target the White House in an act of terrorism.  They went to their deaths protecting their country as much as any soldier. Americans have that spirit of protecting each other and the whole! And our children grow up renewing that spirit.

I see that spirit just about every day in America. Just a couple days ago, two people announced over the internet that they would offer their ranches, with stalls, barns, and land to those needing a place to take their livestock, horses and any other animals caught up in the deadly fires of Texas.  My children and I have had the humble opportunity to cook up turkeys, bake gourmet cookies and delicious pies and then trek downtown to feed the homeless in subzero temperatures on Thanksgiving Day.  We were not alone. Scores of other families were there, sacrificing the comfort and warmth of their homes to give others a reason to be grateful.  Americans flourish in making life better for someone else.

9-11 did not cripple America—nor stop our independence and spirit of taking care of each other. It renewed it! We’ll always commemorate that part of America that cannot be extinguished!  The rest of the world may never understand it. But we do.  They may look at us as consumed with worldly goods—and perhaps rightly so. But in the final analysis, Americans understand in their subconscious, that life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are not found in shopping malls and luxury cars, but in the ability to help others, in our own way—not because we were told to by the government, or forced by anyone, but because our deeply independent wills desire to look beyond ourselves to someone else’s welfare.

That is what I see in 9-11.


Bio: Sheryl Devereaux is a prolific writer and researcher, speaker, and radio commentator on the Constitution and public policy. You can listen to her show, Foundation of a Nation on or find her on facebook, and on twitter @sheryldevereaux.

All opinions expressed on USDR are those of the author and not necessarily those of US Daily Review.

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