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As we commemorate the 16th anniversary of 9/11 attack that rattled our nation to its core, I hope that everyone will stop, if only for a moment, and remember all those who lost their lives that day.

As I reflect on that day, I recall the feeling of unity this country felt afterward, despite our many differences. I listened today as President Trump said, “We are one country and when we face hardship we emerge closer, stronger and more determined than ever.” I listened as he added, “On that day not only did the world change, but we all changed. Our eyes were opened to the depths of the evil we face. On that hour of darkness we came together with renewed purpose, our common bonds never felt so strong.”

However, despite coming together as a country back then, studies have shown that in recent years, America has been drifting further and further apart. The Minnesota mosque bombing and the Charlottesville, Virginia riots are just two recent examples of a torn America. Trump, himself, has been a divisive figure.

On this day, I am also reminded of a brilliant, and inspirational, speech from the movie “The American President,” starring Michael Douglas as the President Andrew Shepherd.

“America isn’t easy. America is advanced citizenship. You’ve gotta want it bad, ’cause it’s gonna put up a fight. It’s gonna say, ‘You want free speech? Let’s see you acknowledge a man whose words make your blood boil, who’s standing center stage and advocating at the top of his lungs that which you would spend a lifetime opposing at the top of yours.’ You want to claim this land as the land of the free? Then the symbol of your country cannot just be a flag. The symbol also has to be one of its citizens exercising his right to burn that flag in protest. Now show me that, defend that, and celebrate that in your classrooms. Then you can stand up and sing about the land of the free.”

It is worth remembering what brings us together. For those who weren’t born in 2001, or who were too young to realize what happened on that Sept. 11, history lessons have to fill in the gaps: The site sums it up.

This is America, land of the free, home of the brave. What have we learned from history? Turn back America; we are better than this. It is time to put away our disagreements and unite once again as we did on Sept. 11, 2001.

Mark Bello has practiced law for 40 years. He is currently the CEO and General Counsel of Lawsuit Financial Corporation, a pro-justice lawsuit funding company, and the author of the two legal thriller novels, Betrayal of Faith and Betrayal of Justice (books available on major online book store sites).

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