Lest We Forget

by on March 7th, 2015
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Like most of us, I was horrified and frightened by the attacks in Sept. 11, 2001. It was a natural reaction, but it wasn’t the only thing I felt. I was angry. I don’t think I was alone.

As time has gone on, my emotions have changed to a degree. I’m still horrified, but I’m also proud. I’m still frightened sometimes, but I keep going. I’m still angry, but not at a race or religion. I’m angry only with those responsible.

I have a greater feeling of appreciation for those who put their lives on the line daily to protect our country and keep us safe. I’m grateful for our military. I’m grateful for our police officers and I’m grateful for our firemen. On that day, many of them sacrificed their lives to save others.

There is a new unity in this country. I saw it in the days that followed. We hung out our flags. We went out and talked to our neighbors. Some of us may have never met, despite living side by side. We had vigils and walks.

That hasn’t stopped. I still see more people flying the U.S. flag, especially on important days such as the recent anniversary of the attacks. I see them trying to take care of their flags properly, worrying that they might be dropped. There are still walks and vigils.

Like many people I attended an event remembering those attacks on the tenth anniversary. We heard from a military officer who lost both legs to a roadside bomb. He got a standing ovation…twice. We heard from a first responder, one of the few who survived. He also got more than one standing ovation.

After the program, the entire group walked together, showing our unity to the world. We waved flags and the passing cars honked and waved. Some of the people in the crowd had physical problems, but they did not let that keep them from the walk. I saw elderly people and young families carrying children or pushing strollers. We were united.

We are not a nation of victims. We may not like the steps we have to take to prevent a repeat, but it hasn’t stopped us. In fact, it hasn’t really slowed us down. We are a nation of victors. We may need that eternal vigilance, but that isn’t a weakness. That’s what we owe the men and women who put their lives on the line every day so we can be free.

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