The Morning Our Nation's Childhood Died

In some ways, it seems like yesterday. In some ways, it seems like 10 lifetimes ago.

It was in the morning, and I was just about to jump into the shower. At that time, I worked afternoons on WFLA in Tampa, Florida. My big, huge box television, a Sony Trinitron, was on really loud in my house in Velrico, Florida.

I was in the bathroom, and I heard the Today Show say it looks like a small plane has hit one of the twin towers. I came out in my boxers with my toothbrush, and I said out loud as if Katie Couric was somehow or another going to hear me, That's not the hole of a small plane.

RELATED: WATCH--9/11 Remembrance

I quickly jumped into the shower because I knew whatever it was that we had planned to do that day was about to change. But I thought, This plane thing will probably change today, and it will be out of the news in a couple of days. I jumped into the shower, and I got out. I'm listening, and I hear a second plane hit. And I called Stu, my producer at the time, and said, Stu, we're at war. We need to get to the studios.

As I drove, with unnoticed mismatched socks and wet hair, we heard the towers collapse. I stepped on the gas, and I thought to myself, Who? Who would want to kill -- how many people are in there? 30,000? 100,000? It's two vertical cities. Who would want to kill 50,000 people? For what reason? What have we done? Who are these people?

I had forgotten that in '98 or '99 I was on the air at WABC in New York City, and out of frustration one night -- and anger -- I warned the audience that within a decade, Osama bin Laden would act on his promise of death, and there would be blood, bodies and buildings in the streets of New York because we were so focused on left and right politics, that you can't even see the truth right in front of you.

What I had talked about earlier in that hour in '99 was Osama bin Laden's promise in the '90s to do to the U.S. what was done to the former Soviet Union --- and that was divide, demoralize and collapse it from within, and exert pressure from without.

That day in 1999 when I was on the air, my conservative audience was angry with me because I was defending Bill Clinton's airstrike on the aspirin factory. Do you remember that? The aspirin factory was bombed, and everybody was saying, He's just trying to do this to get his name out of the headlines because of the Monica Lewinsky thing, and all you're trying to do is excuse him. All you're trying to do is help the Democrats win in the next election." And I was like, No. Will you please listen to the words of Osama bin Laden. I didn't even know who this guy was until we bombed the aspirin factory. And then I went and I read his words, and I'm like, Oh, my gosh. Yes, we should kill this guy.

And the president's detractors at the time, I mean, they were saying that Bill Clinton would only do this to distract him from his sex and perjury scandal, and it didn't take a vast right-wing conspiracy to believe he would do that because he had so soiled himself, if you will.

The Clintons had done enough to increase the fog of the partisan war that you could no longer see anything. Most of what I heard that day was that nobody knows who Osama bin Laden is. This guy's a nobody. And we're the United States of F-ing America. Like that guy in a cave is going to do something to us. You're just trying to get Al Gore elected. You're just trying to excuse Bill Clinton. You're just whipping up fear to help the Democrats win the next election.

Boy, some things never change. The fog of partisan war --- George Washington warned us about it. It stopped us from seeing the attack that would come just a couple of years later.

Back on September 11th, 2001, I didn't remember that episode of my talk show on ABC. It wasn't until Osama bin Laden was mentioned as the mastermind that later Stu and I looked at each other and said, Wasn't that the guy we talked about at ABC?

Once I heard that, I knew our life was going to change for a while. But we would make it, if we could just stay together and stay awake. But I knew somehow or another this was going to be harder to solve than just war. It was bigger than just killing those in caves who were responsible. I think all of us knew somewhere inside, This is going to change everything. And it did.

Our kids don't even know the America that we knew. They don't remember how free we really were. How secure we actually felt. How innocent and ignorant we were table to easily remain. How much we trusted each other and how much we trusted our government. How much we thought, Oh, that stuff will never happen. Our kids will never understand that. They will never see it because the world won't go back to that.

In a time where we would have never put up with someone telling us that they were going to search us so we could get on to an airplane, in that time, Snowden was a child. But if he were an adult and he would have done what he did back then, if he would have exposed the government for spying and eavesdropping on American citizens, we would have been outraged by his revelations, and I think we would have declared him a hero.

But as I typed out these thoughts the other day, the world has changed so much, I used my fingerprint that I gladly gave to Apple to type it out.

I remember the days following the strike, the skies were so quiet. There wasn't a plane in the sky, except that I lived by MacDill Air Force Base. And I remember the stealth taking off.

We didn't know that the government was flying the Saudis out and the Bin Laden family out of the country. We just assumed that any plane we did hear was a fighter protecting us. I remember watching Congress holding hands and singing hymns together. And I remember foolishly thinking, Wow, we're all alike. We all believe the same things. Look at us. We all believe that this is the greatest country in the world, that our Constitution is worth defending.

So much since 9/11 has been lost, but little did I know that our faith in each other, our faith in the basic ties to one another would be the hardest and the last domino to fall. The idea that we all didn't love America, that we all didn't think that the Constitution was inspired and sacred. I thought we all knew that it was the combination of business and government and money that was bad --- not wealth itself, not the rich themselves, not even the political system --- but the combination of all of those things: business and government and greed.

I really didn't think we saw color anymore, and I know we didn't on 9/12.

9/11 was the hardest day as a citizen I had had up until that point. But the next day, 9/12 and perhaps as long as a month after that, were the proudest days to be an American citizen because, for a short while, none of us cared about doing well. We all cared about doing good.

Tania and I flew to New York as soon as planes were flying again. And I remember flying in over the city at night. It was completely dark. Only the body recovery effort was lit, only Ground Zero itself. There were about five passengers on the plane, all of them were going to Ground Zero. And we all fell silent as we approached.

The next morning, I stood in the still-smoldering rubble. It took me a decade before I stopped smelling that smell. If I smelled it again, I would tell you what it was. But up until just a few years ago, thank God, it went away. I could still smell it.

I'll never forget the first time I saw military Humvees and automatic weapons in the streets of New York. The island of Manhattan with a chain-linked fence. And where there wasn't a chain-linked fence, there was a fence of men in blue that you couldn't get past.

I didn't know what to say to America in those days. I remember praying the week of 9/11, just days before I went national, and I said, Lord, you have the wrong guy. I didn't take my life seriously. I didn't take the country seriously. I'm a jokester. I'm a joke. I'm a rodeo clown. You have the wrong guy. I don't know what to say.

I remember grasping for words on 9/11. People listening, saying, What does it mean? And I said, I don't know what it means, but I promise you, I will do my job to figure it out, and I will tell you the truth. We're in this together.

I really thought for a long time that we would be able to go back to our bliss of ignorance, that when I said we could go back to the way we lived before, that we could all go back to our jobs and our family and to go back to that place where we didn't care about anything, we weren't paying attention to anything. We didn't have to. They would take care of that in Washington.

But it was our bliss that got us to 9/11. And it's our collective hardship that got us to 9/12.

What did the terrorists do to us 15 years ago? They didn't take down our economy like they had hoped. They did much, much more, and they used a weapon of mass destruction more powerful than airplanes. They used us. They used our ignorance, our corruption, our political greed, our ignorance, our apathy. They used our two-party system. They used our religious differences, our lifestyle differences to crush our foundation and to crush one another. And it's working.

As we found on 9/11, even steel under enough intense pressure and heat buckles and fails. And our bonds are no different. But we also learned on 9/11, over a field in Pennsylvania, it only takes a couple of people who think they have absolutely no power to change the course.

Yesterday on 9/11, I prayed almost the same prayer, Lord, you have the wrong guy. I don't know what words . . . I have no words to help. And the words that I do speak seem to make more trouble because too often, they're not your words. Let me begin again. Let us all begin again.

It is the anniversary of September 12th. Anyone who is old enough to recognize it, recognizes it as one of the greatest days ever to be an American. Let's reflect on that today.

Featured Image: Screenshot from The Glenn Beck Program, September 12, 2016.

A new Pew Research Center report shows the death toll in the United States from COVID-19 is "heavily concentrated" in Democratic congressional districts.

According to the analysis, more than half of all COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. occurred in just 44 (approximately 10 percent of) congressional districts, and 41 of those 44 hardest-hit districts are represented by Democrats, while only three are represented by Republicans.

"A new Pew Research Center analysis of data on official reports of COVID-19 deaths, collected by the John Hopkins University Center for Systems Science and Engineering, finds that, as of last week, nearly a quarter of all the deaths in the United States attributed to the coronavirus have been in just 12 congressional districts – all located in New York City and represented by Democrats in Congress. Of the more than 92,000 Americans who had died of COVID-19 as of May 20 (the date that the data in this analysis was collected), nearly 75,000 were in Democratic congressional districts," Pew reported.

Filling in for Glenn Beck on the radio program this week, Pat Gray and Stu Burguiere argued that, while the coronavirus should never have been made into a partisan issue, the study certainly makes a strong statement in favor of GOP leadership.

Watch the video below:


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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) once predicted the coronavirus death rate would be between 4 and 5 percent, but they've just come out with a new report and those predictions have been adjusted significantly.

According to the CDC's latest data, the fatality rate among Americans showing COVID-19 symptoms is 0.4 percent. And an estimated 35 percent who are infected by the virus will never have any symptoms. Therefore, the CDC is now estimating COVID-19 kills less than 0.3 percent of people infected.

Filling in for Glenn Beck on the radio program this week, Pat Gray and Stu Burguiere recalled when the mainstream media went into overdrive, hammering President Donald Trump for predicting the final COVID-19 death rate would be "under one percent."

Looks like the president was right all along.

Watch the video below to catch more of the conversation:

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Michigan barber Karl Manke isn't a troublemaker. He's a law-abiding citizen who did everything possible to financially survive during the COVID-19 lockdown. pandemic. Eventually, he had no other option: he had to reopen his business in defiance of Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's stay-at-home orders.

In an interview on the "Glenn Beck Radio Program," Manke, 77, told Glenn, "I'm not backing down" despite Whitmer's seemingly vindictive attempts to shut down his business.

Shortly after reopening, Manke was ticketed for violating Whitmer's stay-at-home order and charged with a misdemeanor. When he still refused to close his doors, the governor's office went a step further and suspended his barber license.

"It's kind of a vindictive thing," said Manke. "I've become a worm in her brain ... and she is going full force, illegally, when legislatures told her that she was out of place and this was not her assignment, she decided to take it anyway."

On Thursday, the Shiawassee County Circuit Judge refused to issue a preliminary injunction against Manke. Read more on this update here.

Watch the video clip from the interview below:

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Time after time, Americans have taken to the streets to defend our constitutional rights, whether it was our livelihood at stake -- or our lives. But, what was the point of all the civil rights movements that came before, if we're about to let the government take our rights away now?

On his Wednesday night special, Glenn Beck argued that Americans are tired of having our rights trampled by "tyrannical" leaders from state and local governments who are ignoring our unalienable rights during this pandemic.

"Our nanny state has gone too far. The men and women in office -- the ones closest to our communities, our towns, our cities -- are now taking advantage of our fear," Glenn said. "Like our brothers and sisters of the past, we need to start making the decisions that will put our destiny, and our children's destiny, back into our hands."

It took less than two months of the coronavirus tyranny to make America unrecognizable, but some Americans are fighting back, risking losing their jobs and businesses or even jail time, as they battle to take back our civil rights.

Here are just a few of their stories:

After New Jersey's Atilis Gym reopened in defiance of the governor's executive order, the Department of Health shut them down for "posing a threat to the public health." Co-owner Ian Smith says somebody sabotaged the gym's toilets with enire rolls of paper to create the public health "threat."

Oregon Salon owner, Lindsey Graham, was fined $14 thousand for reopening. She said she was visited by numerous government organizations, including Child Protective Services, in what she believes are bullying tactics straight from the governor's office.

77-year-old Michigan barber, Karl Manke, refused to close his shop even when facing arrest. "I couldn't go another 30 days without an income," he said. But when local police refused to arrest him, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's (D) office suspending his business license instead.

Port of Seattle police officer Greg Anderson was suspended after he spoke out against enforcing what he called "tyrannical orders" imposed amid coronavirus lockdowns.

Kentucky mother-of-seven, Mary Sabbatino, found herself under investigation for alleged child abuse after breaking social distancing rules at a bank. After a social worker from child protective services determined there was no sign of abuse, he still sought to investigate why the Sabbatino's are homeschooling, and how they can give "adequate attention to that many children."

Dallas salon owner Shelley Luther was sentenced to seven days in jail after she defied the state-mandated stay-at-home orders to reopen her business.

Watch the video clip from Glenn's special below:


Watch the full special on BlazeTV YouTube here.

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To enjoy more of Glenn's masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multiplatform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution and live the American dream.