It's my opinion that country music captures it best. Alan Jackson opined about it in his smash hit, "Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning?" Or "Have You Forgotten" by Darryl Worley, which asked the question about how a patriot felt the day that Al Qeda and/or muslim extremists attacked this great country. Can you recall the great sense of pride for the United States of America on the day after 9/11? We were a united group. All for one, one for all. We stood together, against tyranny, terrorism, the Taliban. We supported the tremendous loss of 343 firefighters... the loss of the boys in blue, the NYPD, and the 2996 souls who perished in the WTC, the Pentagon and the lonely farming field and the heroic crew and passengers of United Flight 93, in Shanksville, PA. "United" States never meant so much as it did on that fateful fall day, 10 years ago.
So, what were you doing? Like most people across America, we were awakening to a new day. The cowardly acts of terrorism occurred so early in the morning that most people probably had not even had their morning cup of coffee. Some might have been on their way to work, or already at work. Some might have been stuck on the 405 freeway in southern California. Or trucking across Montana on the I90. Maybe there were surfers waiting for the big wave at county line on PCH. Maybe they were a farmer, on a tractor, plowing a field somewhere in Iowa. Americans were going about their business on that morning when time stood still, and our nation changed forever.
I was enrolled in EMT school. Hmm, seems appropriate, given that a large number of first responders were killed on 9/11. A friend telephoned me and asked if I was watching the news. It seems odd that on this particular day, I was not watching the news - as I am always watching the news. Fox News! After the pit of my stomach dropped to my feet, and bounced back up, I ran to the television, and with mouth agape, sat down and cried. I could not believe what I was watching. Surely, this must be a mistake of sorts. No one just flies a jumbo jet into the World Trade Towers. Then it hit me - this was not an accident but a deliberate act of war.
Let's rewind that statement for a moment. An act of WAR. Terrorism. Pearl Harbor, remember that day? A day which will live in infamy. What about the first time the WTC was attacked? Oklahoma City... another terrible day. All acts of terrorism, carried out be terrorists, cowards and enemies of the America.
Here we are, 10 years later. Are we a safer nation? I'd like to think so. I'd like to hope so. Sometimes I think we are safer. Other times, not so sure. The mind of a terrorist operates differently than mine. One thing I can safely attest to though is the unwaivering sense of pride when I see our firefighters, emts, police officers, the United States Armed Forces, everyday people just doing their jobs - protecting the citizens of this nation. They don't do it for recognition. They certainly don't do it for fame or wealth. They run into burning buildings, walk a dark alley for our protection, protect us from thugs, perform CPR on those who's hearts have stopped, take time away from their families as they work towards freedom in Afghanistan and across the globe. These are the heroes that are here for America. They aren't a punch line. They are not cute little figures that we should honor only one day a year, or throw a special party for. The Heroes of America are here among us every single day.
On this, the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, I will do what I do every single day - I will pray for those who have lost their lives fighting for freedom, who protect us on a daily basis, who put on a uniform at the beginning of a shift, go to work and say..."Nothing will harm you today, not on my watch".
Thank You America.