Patriotism's new face 10 years after 9/11

With the 10th anniversary of 9/11 less than a week away, "The Early Show" begins a series that looks at how we've changed since that tragic day.

Americans have always considered themselves among the most patriotic people in the world, and that love of country spiked when we the nation was attacked. It's a feeling, "Early Show" co-anchor Chris Wragge reported, that led some people to change the way they lived their lives, forever.

Special section: 9/11 10 years later

Two weeks ago, Nick and Cathy Kavounas replaced their worn American flag with a crisp new one, the third flag that's flown from their front porch in Allentown, Pa. since the terror attacks.

Nick Kavounas told "The Early Show," that, "Probably, 9/11 had a bigger impact on me than any other event of my lifetime."

The Kavounas live on a quiet street that still boasts several flags and banners though, they say not nearly as many as there once were.

Nick Kavounas said, "I would say that patriotism before 9/11 was probably at a seven. After 9/11, it was 10 plus 10."

Immediately following the attacks, the American flag seemed to grow from the ashes, popping up nearly everywhere. And of course, flying the flag is only one way to show one's patriotism.

Some joined the military, often derailing careers to answer the call of country. Pat Tillman famously put his football career on hold to join the Army, and tragically lost his life in Afghanistan. Others lined up to donate blood. The Red Cross says more than a quarter million people decided to donate blood for the first time.

And then there's Daniel Rodriguez, the singing police officer. Rodriguez was on duty that Tuesday in September 2001.

Rodriguez recalled, "Things I remember, the sounds of the radio -- officers calling for help. And we just did what we had to do, I was a New York City police officer at that moment."

And after the carnage, Rodriguez, a tenor, was asked to sing at funerals and tributes.

"When I sang, that's when my healing began," Rodriguez said. "I began to heal and really feel like I was playing my role in this tragedy."

Rodriguez discovered that he could do more good as a singer than he could as a cop. So he left the force and embarked on his mission to lift spirits with his voice.

"I want to be an ambassador to show that positive things rose out of the ashes," Rodriguez says. "We thrive. We survived. And we are spiritually still alive."

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