Disclaimer: I grew up in a military home, and have every respect for the men and women of my country in uniform. ANY uniform. They're all doing things I wouldn't have the patience or physical strength to do, and they usually do it for a pittance, and at a moment's notice, risking their lives and their families in the name of everything they stand for.
I remember September 11th. I was just waking up when my older sister told me about what was happening on television; I remember asking if "Die Hard" was on, and she wasn't fully awake yet. She was, and forced me to sit down and watch what was going on. My youngest sister was still in high school, and was in lockdown for four hours afterward; my mother was locked on base in the only Defcon Delta I have ever known in my life. My father, who'd gone off base for lunch, was not allowed back on--he was non-essential personnel. Aside from when I had to go to work (which was surprisingly busy), no one was allowed to leave the house or have friends over for the rest of the day; my father wanted to know exactly where we were, and what our condition was.
So, what's with the preamble, you ask? I'm sick of mourning, is what. We didn't lose. We didn't go down. We didn't break. Yes, hundreds of people died in a horrible fashion in the name of brainwashed madmen's beliefs. Yes, at least two major symbols of my country were attacked. But these things could happen at any time, and they'd be forgotten in a year, because the symbols that broke were just buildings. "Just buildings!" you cry, "How can you say that?!" (And a string of randomly-selected expletives, I'm sure. Give me a minute, I'm getting there.)
What's the one symbol that we stand by the most? What gets waved around every Independence Day (and sometimes every day in between)? What do the men and women in uniform (any uniform) swear allegiance to?
What's the one symbol that never broke, never faltered? The symbol that rose above the rubble and grief and said "Pull the other one!"
Attacks on America really aren't new. Anyone remember Pearl Harbor? Just because it didn't happen on the mainland doesn't mean it wasn't an attack against us. Just because they only had one target doesn't mean it wasn't an attack against us. Mourn the lost, but let the weeping cease, for we are not lost! Remember it as the day our noses got bloodied, but we came back (and how!) and got our gear together. Whatever your opinions on the war that followed, we took neither attack lying down. September 11th isn't just a day of remembrance; it's a day of hope. It's a day our eyes are opened to the fact that even the strongest country can have chinks in its armor, and we act to cover them.
These are just the thoughts of one American citizen. Take them as you will.