Faith, Hope, and Love for American Identity


The American identity can be defined in a variety of ways. Freedom, empathy, drive, and living out the American dream. As I think about a few of these traits, the song, “Where Were You” by Alan Jackson, comes to mind. This song has a video attached to it and this video portrays the day that our country was attacked on September 11, 2001.  As tragic as this day was the way the Americans came together to support each other and to show their pride for the red, white, and blue was apparent in the images throughout the music video. The base of the American identity is the love for America and their ability to come together during a crisis to support one another. “Where Were You”, by Alan Jackson is perfect in showing that the base of America is strong, and this is what helps the U.S. become a home of land that people want to flee to and live. 

Alan Jackson’s music video shows many photos of what went on during 9/11. When the song said, “Did you burst out with pride for the red, white, and blue” (Smith). The photo shown in the video shows 8 firemen with their yellow hats, kaki like pants, and their red suspenders that are attached to their pants. There are four military men standing behind the firemen dressed in their camouflage uniforms saluting those who were lost. The firemen and military are on a building holding a huge American flag with the red and white stripes and the white and blue stars. Another image has rustic beams that were made into a cross. There are what looks to be workers from the area, firemen dressed in their suits, and some construction workers standing below the cross. That beam represents the twin towers, it is what held one of the twin towers together and is now in a standing position as a cross to show hope, love, and faith. Those characteristics are what you can call gifts to help provide a coping mechanism for the uncertainties of life. The giant flag flying over the building and the small flag swaying in the wind hooked onto the beams signifies strength, resilience, and the inability for another country to divide us. These colors represent what America stands for: red, white, and blue. 

Not only was the American flag flown around the World Trade Center on 9/11, but individuals were also flying their flags outside their homes, on their cars, and places of business. Cengage.com has an article named, “American National Identity-America After 9/11” which says, “And with increased interest in displaying the national flag came discussions of patriotism suddenly, loyalty to America was imperative” (McClay, Baker, and Kelly). With this being said even though 9/11 felt like such a lost day it helped build a stronger bond in the U.S. The flag represents the dignity, freedom, and true meaning behind being an American. It has been with the citizens during hard times but even times where it feels like we are on cloud 9. The flag itself has changed many times before becoming the flag we know and love today. The American Identity is filled with patriotism, strength, and love for fellow Americans. 

We have all seen numerous images depicting rescue workers and the non-rescue workers alike trying to help others escape from the rubble they were trapped within. The lyric “And the heroes who died just doing what they do” displays an image of four firemen dressed in their all yellow hat or a black hat with stripes of yellow along with their black and yellow uniform walking through a huge pile of debris located near a subway (Smith). They are walking towards what looks like where the twin towers used to stand but now looks small and destroyed from damage. An image that relates to what was just described is one shown of two people one male and one female. They both are running away from the twin towers with fear and distressed looks on their faces. The woman has brown hair but looks white due to the ash that she is covered in and the man is also covered in ashes. They both are carrying their belongings or what they could grab. Not only do they look scared, but they look out of breath from running away. Behind them is a couple of ambulances that came to help those who are injured. In front of the ambulance is a man who seems to be fast walking away from the area in a white shirt and black business pants. Those people could have been in the twin towers and were survivors. This exemplifies the way Americans are willing to put their lives on the line to help save others and ensure their safety during a time of the attack. A part of the American identity is the way we band together in unity, mourn together, and fight together. 

Meera Dolasia wrote, “The Day Americans Came Together” to help provide information such as the 11th being a true tragedy but what came out of that day, “…made us more resilient and determined to continue living without fear” (Dolasia). We remember this day that Americans grew together by the World Trade Center that remains in a place of the two twin towers. But not only is there a World Trade Center to help provide a memory of what happened there is also the National September 11 Memorial & Museum near the Trade Center to make sure we U.S. citizens remember the innocent lives lost due to the attack made by terrorists. Throughout the museum, the American identity is shown through the pictures and objects displayed: the faces shown that lost their lives were Americans, pictures shown show those lost in the rubble,  along with the bond Americans have, the strength in the American identity, and the support for one another. The day after 9/11 citizens came together and raised candles and national flags at the U.S. Capitol to commemorate the victims of those who fought or died in the terrorist attack. 

9/11/2001 is a day all Americans came together, the unity, resilience, strength, and inability for a country or terrorist to divide us are just some characteristics of what we call the American identity. The greatest love for America and the way people want to experience the American dream has truly touched the lives of many and has enticed others to become a United States citizen. The music video and 9/11 have impacted the lives of so many here and within other countries. Those terrorists thought they could make the U.S. weak but built a stronger America in return, the American identity cannot be destroyed. “Where were you when the world stopped turning on that September day” (Smith) …

Works Cited

Dolasia, Meera. DogoNews. 10 September 2014. 6 February 2021. <https://www.dogonews.com/2014/9/10/9-slash-11-slash-2001-the-day-americans-came-together>.

McClay, Wilfred M, et al. Cengage. 11 September 2002. 6 February 2021. <http://www.cengage.com/resource_uploads/static_resources/0155069837/1264/casebook_national_identity.html>.

Smith, Troy L. Cleveland. 4 July 2017. 6 February 2021. <https://www.cleveland.com/entertainment/2017/07/july_4_playlist_20_greatest_so.html>.

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