9/11: Sacrifice, Remembrance, & Renewal

“Time is passing. Yet, for the United States of America, there will be no forgetting September the 11th. We will remember every rescuer who died in honor. We will remember every family that lives in grief. We will remember the fire and ash, the last phone calls, the funerals of the children.”  – President George W. Bush.

I can clearly remember September 11th, 2001.  It was my first day of kindergarten, and my mom left the dining room table to watch the coverage.  I followed her to the living room soon after and remember seeing the second plane hit the South Tower at 9:03am.  At five years old, I didn’t realize then what a historic event I was witnessing, but I did understand that people were attacking this country because they despised everything we stand for (and still do).  Now, eleven years later, I’ve researched and written about 9/11 more times than I can count; witnessing it at such a young age left an impression on me that I can’t explain.  My love for this country was sparked at five years old when I watched the worst terrorist attack ever on our soil happening and it has only grown since then.

The eve of 9/11 is the perfect time to reflect on the events that happened that day and renew our resolve to protect this nation at all costs.  Nearly three thousand people lost their lives in the attacks, including more than four hundred law enforcement officials; we’re disrespecting their memory if we let their sacrifices go in vain.  If we ever forget what happened that day, we risk losing the constant vigilance that is required to keep this country safe and free.

Al Qaeda is being brought to justice, with many of its leaders being killed in the last few years.  Who was in the White House when they were killed is irrelevant compared to the resolve it has taken to reach this point.  Only America stays that determined and follows through on every promise.  President Bush deserves enormous praise for doing such a phenomenal job of keeping this country safe in the days and months after the attacks; we were more vulnerable then than we had ever been and he protected us with a tenacity that is hard to match.  Whatever your opinion of George W. Bush, his leadership kept us from more attacks soon after 9/11 and he doesnt receive enough credit for it.

On this day eleven years ago, we had no idea that in less than twenty-four hours our resolve and strength as a nation would be tested more than it had ever been.  We had no idea that many would wake up to the images of burning and falling buildings and hijacked planes.  We would hear the horror stories as the events played out and would later hear the stories of men and women who gave their lives in the place of others.  Patriotism and courage were personified through the law enforcement officials and especially the passengers on Flight 93.

So many heroes came out of September 11th– the firefighters, police officers, medical teams, and the passengers on every plane are American heroes that can never be forgotten; and we also remember every soldier that gave the ultimate sacrifice in Iraq and Afghanistan.  We have the privilege of carrying on their memories by remaining steadfast in our fight against terrorism, as well as remembering them every day as we enjoy the freedom we have in America.  On the eve of 9/11, think of those who gave everything to keep our nation safe.  Don’t ever forget their sacrifice; it’s our duty and honor to remember them.