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October 25, 2006 | South Carolina Headlines


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A phoenix rises
Jonathan Pait
September 17, 2001

Driving down Wade Hampton Blvd. in Greenville you can see a billboard that reads, “In God we trust. United we stand.” All around the country slogans like these appear on billboards, hanging from overpasses and marquees in front of churches and businesses. Our roads pass through a panoply of patriotism.

However, there is one popular slogan that has been used for years that you won’t hear in this crisis. Has anyone seen a billboard with “Our strength is our diversity” proudly displayed? This statement has been a thorn in the side of many Americans for years. We recognize that we are diverse, but our diversity has never been our strength. Our strength has always been that in spite our diversity, we have stood united for the most of 200 plus years of existence.

This tragedy has wrenched our souls. However, out of the fire a phoenix rises. The fractures of special interests and an inordinate focus on “diversity” begin to melt into the steely sinews of this great bird. She has not risen to her full height and power, but the process begins. If our resolve sets aside our personal interests and focuses on our common unity as Americans, she will soar with fire in her eyes.

Have you noticed it? It can be seen in the grocery store line. You can see it as you travel the streets of small—and large—town America. The American demeanor seems to have changed. We are talking to one another. We are grieving together. We are worshipping together. Now, we soon must fight together.

Yet, out of the fire of our trial, there are those who still hold to the old way. They hang upon this great bird like stubborn strands seeking to keep her from escaping the flames of tragedy. We read of NCCI ( keeping employees from displaying the Stars and Stripes. Stories pop up from around the country of schools that have disciplined students for displaying flags on T-shirts and praying for our country.

Those of us who love our country—of all colors and cultures—must stand against these who would add salt to our wounds. These actions represent those things that divide us and fly in the face of everything that has been sacrificed in past tragedies of our American history. Contact these companies and schools and confront them. The NCCI servers should crash under the load of E-mails expressing the rage of patriotic Americans. This is how we begin to fight.

Rise, America, shake off the web of the years of neglect to our national unity. Sweep aside the attempts of these who would clip your wings. We long to watch you soar.

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