I heard a cable news talking head make an interesting point the other day. He spoke of the issues that drive wedges between the political parties — and between Americans. He was speaking of the intense divisions existing today.
The United States has been “truly united” just twice in the past century or so, he said. The first time was after the Pearl Harbor attack by Japanese aviators, the act that pulled us into World War II. The second time? It was 9/11, when those terrorists flew hijacked jetliners into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
Oh, how those of us old enough to remember that day can recall the rage we all felt at the monsters who committed that dastardly act.
Today I saw through a two-hour film that transported me back to that time of unity. It’s called “12 Strong.” It tells the true story of a dozen U.S. Army Green Berets who were sent into Afghanistan a month after the terrorist attacks. Their mission was to destroy a Taliban military operation. They rode into battle … on horseback!
The film speaks of their loyalty to each other and of the commitment the unit’s commanding officer made, that all of them would survive their mission of extreme danger.
The mission only was recently declassified. Indeed, after these Special Forces returned home from their mission, they weren’t given anything like the heroes’ welcome they deserved. Their mission was kept super-secret. No one outside those who were involved directly knew what they did.
The film is intense to the max.
But I sat through it, cheering the bravery of our soldiers — and the bravery of the Northern Alliance Afghan fighters with whom they were teamed to fight the Taliban.
The film does remind us that this country is able to unite. Americans are able to coalesce behind a common cause. The 9/11 horror produced our nation’s most recent sense of unity.
I pray, however, that we can join together without having to endure the tragedy and misery through which we have suffered. Pearl Harbor and 9/11 were unique events in our nation’s history.
I am left to wonder whether the unity those events produced must be attached uniquely to such heartache. I hope that’s not the case. I fear, though, that it is.