We have seen eleven years pass by since the United States was attacked by a cowardly group that set out to fill every American heart with terror and fear.
So many lives lost or affected by the events of that day.
Innocent civilians and brave first responders lost in the attacks on the Towers in lower Manhattan.
Service members, Civilian employees and first responders at the Pentagon.
The brave passengers of Flight 93 that chose to bravely sacrifice themselves in a field in Pennsylvania rather than let another attack be made on the Capitol.
For eleven years this has been a day of solemn memorial and sadness, but we are now seeing it as so much more.
America sent a strong message to the world on that day. Those responsible for the attack did not get the response they were expecting. The soft bellied Americans did not run in terror. We did not go into hiding and allow our society to come to a screeching halt.
Instead the world saw people rushing into the fires of Hell to help others.
They saw the true American spirit when those on Flight 93 made a conscious decision to not sit by and let others die. Accepting their fate, they stood up and saved the lives of those that destiny had put in harms way. They didn’t know who those people were or even where the target was, but they knew that there was something inside of them that said “With my last breath I will defy you and you will not harm my countrymen”.
The attack did not cause terror. It caused sadness and pain but not terror. Instead of terror it brought about a unification of the American people and a renewed spirit of patriotism.
Twelve years ago, many of us looked upon the new generation with doubt. They seemed so detached and self indulged. We worried about where our country was heading and thought that we had somehow failed to instill this generation with the right sense of who we are as a people.
Today we look back and wonder how we could have been so wrong.
This “lost” generation stepped forward and took a stand. With no prodding from us they took it upon themselves to defend all that we hold sacred. Those ideals that we thought they just didn’t understand ran strong within their hearts and when their country needed them… they were there, and they continue to be there today.
These children, who once didn’t have a care in the world, have grown up in the fog of war. They have witnessed horrific acts of violence and suffered unimaginable events, and yet they still stand tall and keep coming. They have sacrificed their childhoods and matured far past their limited years.
In them, I see all that is good with America. I see the pride and the courage that built this country and that has maintained it as the greatest nation on the face of the Earth for over two hundred years.
So yes, September 11th will forever be a day of sorrowful memorial, but it is also a day of pride and patriotism. It is a day that not only we, but the entire world, saw that America is alive and well and it is so much more than just a nation. It is something that is inside of us and can’t be ignored or discarded. It is a day where we declared in one voice that not only will we not flee in terror and hide in fear, but we will seek justice on the cowards that resort to terror against the innocent and follow them to the very Gates of Hell, and then gladly send them through them.
Today is a day to be proud of being an American, to have renewed faith in our youth and confidence that they will preserve the values that we hold so dear. Today is a day to remember that being an American is not just an accident of birth or result of immigration, but a sense of responsibility to always come to the aid of those in need and to stand strong against any and all that would deny basic human rights and the ability to follow one’s dreams to others.
I am proud to be an American and I realize that it’s not a right, but an honor that must be earned by actions and service to others and with the commitment to the belief that all people deserve a right to follow their hearts and dreams.