It was just a little after 6:00 AM on September 11th, 2001. I drove into work at my usual early morning agreed-to time, and I ran into my co-worker, Sheri (we both worked the early shift at that time). Sheri looked at me and said "did you hear that a plane slammed into the World Trade Center?" My first reaction was that some idiots in a Cessna went joyriding and crashed into one of the towers. Since I had a radio in my lab, I went in and turned it on, sat down.....
and did not move for close to three hours.
I just sat there, listening to the whole situation unfold. After I realized how much time had passed, I came out of the lab to see the rest of my company out in the hallway, watching a television screen. Nobody moved, nobody spoke, we all just did our best to comprehend what we were seeing. I was shocked, I was hurt, I was dumbfounded that such a thing could happen. Mostly, I was profoundly sad. Sad to hear about and see so many people that lost their lives on that fateful day. Sad and proud for the firefighters and emergency people that went in and tried to save people, only to get crushed by the falling buildings. Sad and proud to hear about the airplane that crash landed and to find out that passengers decided to take on the terrorists and prevented what could have been even further damage, at the cost of their own lives.
That day, I was both sad to be an American, and proud to be an American. I saw the worst that humanity could throw, short of a nuclear attack, and I watched so many people pay an ultimate price. I also saw the resolve of America firm up and clench its fist. Regardless of partisan politics, regardless of who did what and when and how, I joined 300 million other Americans that day and said "this is personal, and whoever did this must pay for it".
Seven years later, much has been said, and much has been done. Some don't like *how* it's been done, but we need to remember that we were attacked, we were maimed, and we were hurt. But we got back up, and we determined to fight a good fight. Regardless of the spin placed on the story or the aftermath, seven years out, I beg everyone to please remember that we did not ask for this, we did not request to be attacked, but we were, and we committed troops to help purge those who would try to attack us again. Regardless of your personal politics, please say a prayer tonight for the men and women who have committed to fight on our behalf so that we may continue to enjoy the blessings of liberty that we still have. They didn't ask for this fight, but they are fighting and dying on our behalf. Also, say a prayer for the families who lost loved ones on that fateful day. Finally, make a pledge to do all that you can to help make a community and world where such vicious and horrific acts may become so unspeakable that they dare not be performed. It's a tall order, to be sure, but we owe such resolve to those who have served, and died on our behalf. To not pledge to do so means those men and women have died in vain... and that's an outcome I won't be able to accept.