COVID is killing more people than died on 9/11 (and after, from related illness)----but COVID is not a wound to our pride.
Americans, like citizens of many other nations, are encouraged to identify with both the symbols of the nation and with the idea of the nation as a whole. We’re Number 1!!! Best in the World!!! etc.
That national pride was shredded on September 11, and twenty years is not enough to make people stop feeling personally insulted.
COVID is much more complex. The far-more-numerous deaths can and are being blamed on a multitude of causes. It’s not a question of a few handfuls of foreign nationals ‘getting the drop on us’—an event that will create outrage and a need to display dominance for generations to come.
People are easily swayed by the emotions of shame and outrage into feeling it necessary to display “unity” and defiance at those who caused the shame. Most of those causal actors are dead, now, of course. But the need to project belligerence toward all who might contemplate a repeat insult against our national pride, will not die out for a very long time.