In a moving and beautiful ceremony held atop Lower Manhattan’s gleaming, 120-story-tall Freedom Tower, the nation commemorated the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks by raising a glass to the stable democracy of Afghanistan and to a decade of unprecedented peace and prosperity across the globe.
As a brilliant cascade of red, white, and blue fireworks lit up the skyscraper’s observation deck, those in attendance reflected on the horrible tragedy that improbably, and stirringly, gave way to a harmonized Middle East and one of the most triumphant and fruitful eras in the history of the great American republic.
“A decade ago, 3,000 of our citizens perished in a senseless attack on American soil, and as I stand here today atop this magnificent edifice, celebrating the thriving republic of Afghanistan and all our allies in the now wholly stable Muslim world, it’s clear the U.S. has not only risen from the ashes, it has flourished,” said former U.S. president and master of ceremonies George W. Bush, who was widely applauded after 9/11 for respecting the rights of citizens at home and abroad while combating terrorism through largely peaceful means. “These last 10 years could have been divisive, turbulent, sad, hopeless, and grotesque. But instead, they were the exact opposite of those things. And for that we must all feel both blessed and truly proud.”