Actor Chris Pratt called on Americans to remember the feelings of unity and patriotism that swept the United States in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, recalling that devastating day — and the groundswell that followed — in a recent speech.
Pratt shared video of the remarks he gave at Pepperdine University, reflecting on that day and what he felt in the moment that he had realized his country was under attack — and he encouraged students to embrace the things that bring Americans together rather than the things that keep people divided.
“Don’t let the 9/11 effect fade,” he captioned the clip. “Just a week ago, we gathered to remember the heroes and the indomitable spirit that emerged from the ashes. Let’s keep that fire of patriotism burning bright, honoring the sacrifices of those who stepped up in the face of adversity. In a world that sometimes feels divided, it’s crucial to remember that we are one nation, united under the same flag, indivisible. Let’s carry the torch forward, ensuring that the lessons of 9/11 continue to shape our future and inspire generations to come.”
Don't let the 9/11 effect fade. Just a week ago, we gathered to remember the heroes and the indomitable spirit that emerged from the ashes. Let's keep that fire of patriotism burning bright, honoring the sacrifices of those who stepped up in the face of adversity.
In a world… pic.twitter.com/FQkIec9eNy
— Chris Pratt (@prattprattpratt) September 19, 2023
“I remember it so vividly. I stood there alone watching the television,” Pratt recalled, noting that he had been in New Zealand filming at the time. “I watched in horror as the second plane hit the tower. I watched the smoke, the devastation. I watched people jumping from buildings, falling from buildings. I couldn’t believe my eyes. I’d never seen anything like that in my life.”
“I stepped out and I fell to my knees in the snow and I cried and I cried,” he continued. “And in that moment, I gotta say I felt — I felt really alone. And I wanted to go home. I wanted to come back to America.”
He recalled his concern for his older brother “Cully” — who had been in the Army at the time — and wondering what would become of him and his fellow Americans in uniform.
“My brother, my older brother Cully was in the army at the time. I thought, ‘Oh my God, my brother’s going to go to war,'” he said. “I felt the tectonic plates of the earth shifting beneath my feet. I knew in that moment that the world I lived in was going to be totally different moving forward.”
Pratt went on to say that while the remembrance ceremonies and memorials had been important in the early years after the attacks, he believed that they were more important as time went by — important because they could now teach those who were not there what America was like when the people believed in each other.
“Understanding this history means a future in which policymakers have the opportunity to take the lessons of the past and apply them going forward as wisdom. That’s what we owe those on the planes, and in the buildings, who never made it home that day. It’s what we owe the firefighters, the police officers, and paramedics who responded,” he said. “It’s what we owe those who were already in uniform and those who stepped up in service to this great nation in the aftermath of the attacks.”
“We must remember, we have to teach our children the lessons of 9/11, to rekindle the 9/11 effect and keep it alive,” he concluded. “Faith, religion, love of our fellow citizens and patriotism grew from the ashes of that day.”