Eleven years ago today, the most heinous and cowardly act ever perpetrated on American soil took place on a late summer morning that would forever be etched into our collective hearts and minds. On that day, an immaculate and pristine sky was marred with the smoke of hatred, the ash of envy, and the fire of false righteousness. The ground was not only pelted with the debris of falling buildings and airplane fusillade, but with the emotional shrapnel of families and lives, ripped apart by hatred and extremism. What seemed like an otherwise nondescript and quiet September morning deteriorated into a date that now has taken its place as one of the darkest in our nation’s history.
Many terrible events took place on that morning of September 11, 2001. None of which will be chronicled here. The innocent dead taken from us on that day deserve far more respect than that. As do the heroes that gave their lives to save them. Those brave souls, regardless of the color of their uniforms or the letters stitched upon them, were there when they were called. Some were there even though they had not been called. Many of them did not return home that day. Others returned home, but were diminished, whether physically or emotionally, in ways that most of us will luckily never know.
Thousands upon thousands more heroes have answered their country’s call to fight since that day. Whether they believe that they are on the right soil or fighting the right enemy, they stand for us. Ever the pawns in the international and political game of chess, these men and women stand anonymously between us and our enemies. Their uniforms do not differentiate them as either Republicans or Democrats, or as liberals or conservatives. They are simply our protectors.
The experiences and memories of September 11, 2001 vary greatly across the members of this great nation. Yet, whether you were in
New York, D.C, or , you felt the sting of loss on that day. In the intervening years, the phrase “our lives were forever changed on 9/11,” has been uttered countless times. There is some truth to this. Our lives may never be the same again in some ways. Anchorage took a collective kick in the gut on that now infamous day. America
Yet, if there is a truth that is undeniable, it is this.
has endured. The center of the financial world was nearly obliterated but our economy did not completely crumble. We are still the capital of the world, regardless of whether our credit rating has slipped in recent years. Our nation did not disintegrate and fracture following the acts of a band of extremist cowards. We united in a way that only Americans can and although we were kicked in the gut, we brushed ourselves off and stood up again, ready for the next round. America
Therein lays the failure of all those who seek to pierce the heart of our nation and do us harm. America may be a patchwork quilt of religions, races, ethnicities, and political ideologies, but there is one defining thread that weaves us all together and binds us in a way that the perpetrators of September 11th’s vile acts cannot comprehend and will be forever envious of…freedom. It is that freedom that defines our nation. It is that freedom that fortifies us not only as a nation, but as a people. It is that freedom which terrifies those that seek to do us harm. That ideal of freedom, unattainable and incomprehensible to those like the cowardly perpetrators of that fateful day, gave birth to this nation and has nurtured it for over two hundred years. It is a flame that cannot be extinguished by bullets or bombs or blood. It is who we are and will always be.
So as you go about your day this September 11th, 2012, think not of the fallen towers or the damaged Pentagon, or the charred wreckage of a plane in a
field. Do not dwell on the evil and the destruction. Instead, celebrate the lives of the heroes we lost on that day and have lost since. Celebrate the courage of those who answered the call and continue to do so. Celebrate the good in life. Celebrate the fact that we live in a nation where we are free. Celebrate… Pennsylvania . America