Sunday, September 11, 2011

Patriot Day

I can't let the 10-year anniversary of the terrorist attacks made on September 11, 2001 pass without commenting. Today is Patriot Day. Most the time I don't know what being Patriot really means. I think of those that were patriots during the Revolutionary War and I think of those who lay down their lives as they are off in foreign countries, and here too, defending our freedoms and the ideals of which our country was founded.

And then I think of what I do.

I know it's not enough.

But I do love this country. I'm proud to be an American, even if we are generally thought of as obnoxious, uncultured and a little bit obtuse.

Ten years ago, I walked into my World History class where I sat next to one of my best friends, Kate.
"They blew up the Pentagon!" She said, as I walked up to her.
No. They -- whoever "they" were -- couldn't have. Who would dare to attack us? Within minutes, the TV in our classroom was turned on, and we watched in confusion as the second plane hit. I remember seeing this image over and over again and again.

It's weird to think that this is something that will be in the history books. My children will learn about this the same way I learned about JFK's assassination. And will have a similar attitude to the events that I did, somewhat aloof and detached. But I think it's true, I'll never forget walking in to that World Studies classroom with Kate telling me that someone blew up the Pentagon, and then watching as the second World Trade Tower was hit.

I remember worrying about my uncles, both who work for airlines, one who is a pilot, on the east coast. I remember seeing the footage over and over again and not fully comprehending everything that was going on.

I can't imagine what it must have been like to be there in the chaos and confusion. I just finished reading a book that took place during WWII. The author describes the starving, war-torn areas that I have no real way to grasp the reality of some of the situations. I found myself wondering how people ever survived in the insanity of war, as if it were a distant and long-past thing. And then I watched the 9/11 anniversary special with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Tom Brokaw, and there were accounts of those that survived the attacks on the World Trade Center and I started to realize, how very real destruction and horror can be in only a matter of minutes.

It's been a decade, and their are survivors who are still suffering from cancer and respiratory problems. There are children who are now adults, who have grown up without parents.

We showed that we can rally together as a country. And heroes rose from the ashes.
Terrorist attacks can shake the foundations of our biggest buildings, but they cannot touch the foundation of America. These acts shatter steel, but they cannot dent the steel of American resolve. America was targeted for attack because we are the brightest beacon for freedom and opportunity in the world. And no one will keep that light from shining.

President George W. Bush
September 11, 2001
God bless those that are still suffering from this tragic attack. And God bless the men and women who stand up to defend freedom; who choose to run into burning buildings and in the line of fire in order to protect their fellow Americans. And God bless us as a nation, to remember always the day where we came together and remembered why we are proud to be Americans.

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