Two Historic Dates, Three American Presidents

During the past week, we have witnessed two notable events which have swelled the hearts of Americans in patriotic pride and reminded us of our days of national resolve.

The first event happened in New York.

Last week, I watched with pride as the USS New York arrived in New York City for her commissioning ceremony.  One couldn’t help but be moved as this massive ship pulled into the Port of New York.  For this was a ship like no other.  This one used steel recovered from the World Trade Centers in its bow.

The steel that was taken away from Ground Zero was as broken as the spirit on the American people that clear day in September.  But, like her people, she rose from the hollowed ground and was reborn, remade.

The people who worked on this new ship talked about the honor it was, the place in history it held.  Some talked of how they were proud to bring her home, to New York.

I couldn’t help but think of President Bush’s speech on the smoldering grounds of the World Trade Center [video].  To this day, I cannot hear that speech without tears welling up in my eyes and remembering the anguish, fear, and rage I felt that day.

As I watched FOX News’ coverage of the arrival in of the ship in New York,  I will admit that my eyes got a little misty.  This time I felt a sense of justice had returned to this great city.  They may have aimed to cripple us on 9/11, but we produced a proud memorial to all who lost their lives that day and a beacon of hope to all who may one day need our help.

The Spirit of America was, indeed, rebuilt into this ship that will go forth and help us defend our nation, our friends and our very honor.

The other event happened in Berlin.

Today, people from around the world paused to observe what happened twenty years ago, on November 9, 1989.  On that day, the Berlin Wall came down with a resounding thud.  I remember watching the news that night and being mesmerized by history unfolding before my eyes.

Looking back on the videos (specifically this one) from that miraculous night, one thing was forefront in my mind: They’re all running the same way. Toward the west. Toward freedom.

Man’s soul does, indeed, yearn for freedom. President Reagan understood that.  I can’t help to think of his inspiring speech at the wall [video] just a few years earlier.  He dared to dream great things for the people held in captivity around the world.  He did not back down and, with resolve, he forced the Soviet Empire to blink.

What amazing events to look back upon today.  The American spirit of freedom and liberty were so closely melded together in each of these events.  Both 9/11 and the fall of the Berlin Wall were so important in history that countless hours of coverage have been devoted to them over the years and ceremonies were held in their honor this week.

Most of us have only watched these events and these ceremonies on television.  But, in our living rooms, we felt the connection through our hopes, fears, joy, vindication. I know how special they have been for me, personally.

I can only imagine the thrill that must come from being the sole representative of this great land at those historic moments.  The Office of the President of the United States has its headaches, to be sure.  But the honor of embodying the hopes and dreams of the great people of this country at such a remembrance?  No words can describe what I would feel.

I wrote of President Bush’s rallying cry for action against the people that had attacked us.

I wrote of President Reagan’s demanding challenge which eviscerated the Iron Curtain.

But I said “three Presidents” in the title, didn’t I?

And, now I write of President Obama: He didn’t think either ceremony warranted his time.