Historical events and the dates that follow them seem to be seared into our memories for life. People can always tell you where they were the day John F. Kennedy was assassinated, or when our astronauts landed on the moon, or even the day Elvis died. The date, I feel, that is imprinted in the minds of all Americans for the past 15 years and for the next thousand and fifteen, is today, September 11, in the year 2001. The day we all realised that our God-given freedom comes with an exacting price.
I was sitting at work, the radio on, stocking supplies, when I heard about the first World Trade tower being hit. For a few minutes we all thought it was some horribly freak accident. The pilot suffered a heart attack, or the plane went haywire, or something – anything to explain such a tragedy.
Those thoughts went the way of the dinosaurs when the second plane hit… and then the Pentagon was attacked… and finally United Airlines Flight 93 crashed in Shanksville, Pa. Then,
Then, then we all knew it wasn’t a horrible mistake. Then, then we all knew we were at war and our world had changed.
Far too many words have already been devoted to why these heinous acts were perpetrated upon our land, upon our people, upon our beliefs and way of life, and I am not going to add any to the speculation on why.
My words are for the heroes that gave their lives that day. The heroes on the planes, especially flight 93; the heroes at the Pentagon; the first, second, and third responders who are everyday heroes but who showed the world what true heroes are made of when everyone was running away from the burning buildings and they were running toward them, trying to help, trying to save whoever they could. Trying to – as they would simply and humbly tell you – just do their jobs.
My words are for the survivors of the tragedies, who, to this day still, suffer the physical and psychological effects of an act of terrorism, the likes of which had never been seen before and hopefully never will again. Their countless days of agony and torment, of recuperation and recovery, of never-ending memories, are circumstances they wouldn’t wish on anyone else.
My words are for the families of those that gave their lives that day. Unborn children who will never know the scope of their father’s bravery, who never got the chance to meet them, show them how they were loved. Children who lost mothers, fathers, siblings, friends. Women who lost husbands and husbands who lost wives. Friends who lost people near and dear to them.
My words are simply this: I will never, never forget about you. My prayers, my wishes, my thoughts, are for you and with you. I will never forget the freedom we hold so dearly and so tightly, that we’ve fought for, for over 200 hundred years and still battle for to this day, comes with a price. A very exacting price in the sacrifice of our loved ones.
Many more words will be written and spoken today at memorial services, around dinner tables, in houses of worship. News media will broadcast a timeline of events. Some will have interviews with survivors or families of victims. Our country as a whole will mourn, once again, the day that changed our way of life. The day we came to realize freedom isn’t free. The day we recognized America can be battered and bruised, but will never, ever break.
Today, I will be remembering those courageous, unselfish people who gave their lives on a crystal clear blue skied cloudless day, 15 years ago.