Eight years ago our nation stood bonded together in shock and grief. We stood side by side in horror as we watched our security tumble with the twin towers. I would be hard pressed to find a time when I was more scared than to learn the Pentagon had been attacked. Then to learn of the bravery of the men and women on United Flight 93, I felt devastated for their family, and proud of those who sacrificed their lives so that more Americans could be saved.
I went to lunch today and I remembered. I saw the flags, and I remembered, and my heart hurt. Not just at the thought of that day, but at how few people put a flag out. I only saw a small smattering. That hurt. It made me appreciate the ones that hung at half mast all the more, but it seemed as there was a noticeable absence. This wouldn’t have happened on September 11, 2002.
I feel like this day is becoming another Pearl Harbor, just another day in history. This makes me angry. Pearl Harbor was 68 years ago, not less than a decade. We are forgetting too quickly. I am not saying we have to sit and watch the twin towers go down daily, no. I am saying that to forget will mean that the sacrifices that were made that day are in vain. I don’t want to be a part of a country that so easily forgets that people die so that I could be free.
I remember during that time listening to Lee Greenwood’s song God Bless the USA. It is hands down one of my favorite songs. The opening lines:
If tomorrow all the things were gone,
I’d worked for all my life.
And I had to start again,
with just my children and my wife.
I’d thank my lucky stars,
to be livin here today.
‘Cause the flag still stands for freedom,
and they can’t take that away.
Everytimee I hear this, it makes me stop and think what if I had to start all over, from ground zero? What if I had lost everything in the world that I had, with only those I loved most standing by my side, what would I do? After 9-11 I think we all thought that. We all pictured that image. That day as Americans, we all put ourselves in the place of those that were in New York, Pennsylvania, and Washington D.C. We weren’t New Yorkers, St. Louisans, or Californians, we were Americans.
Then I think about the ones who we sent to take down the people who attacked our nation. The men and women we sent out to fight those who wished us harm. I think about the soldiers who have died for that cause, for me, and my security. I think about the families of those men and women who died and of the ones they left behind. To them, I can only say thank you. It’s not enough. It’s not near enough.
For me 9-11 was a day of horror, sacrifice and bonding. I love my country. I don’t always love the things that happen in it. Our country is like a family, not everyone likes everyone in their family. You don’t always see eye to eye and get along. I don’t always get along with all that happens here, but that doesn’t take away the love that I have for my nation.
We are a nation that was birthed in fighting and rebellion. Our principles were founded on the idea that it was ok to speak out. As Americans, we do speak. We talk a great deal about all that is wrong in our country. Today though, today we need to talk about what is right. We need to talk about the spirit that our nation has, that unifying spirit that sees us through. We need to remember the spirit and dedication that our soldiers remember each day as they fight for the freedom that our flag represents. Our freedom. We need to remember. I hear all the time, don’t forget 9-11. For me, there is a difference in remembering and not forgetting. To not forget all we have to do is think about “Yeah 9-11, the WTC was attacked”, like an item on our to do list. To remember is thinking about the lives that were lost, the sacrifices they made, and why they made them. To remember is to think about the men and the women who are continuing to fight for the country that they believe in.
I will remember.