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Thursday, September 11, 2008
A Day That Will Live In Infamy
Today marks the anniversary of one of the darkest days in American History. Through the years we have marked time by certain events, whether tragic or triumphant. In the recesses of my memory there is the picture of my mother weeping over the assassination of JFK. Though not so excited about it at the time, I remember now with fondness watching the first moon walk. I was a part of desegregation in the early 60s and remember the names of the first three black students who came to my school. Other events in history prompt us to recall where we were and what we were doing at that precise moment in time. While nursing my baby and watching television, I learned of the space shuttle Challenger tragedy. When the Columbia was lost I was doing contract work in a local orthopedic clinic. I was walking out of the post office when a neighbor told me of the OK City bombing. Four years later I learned of the Columbine shootings during lunch break at my home office. Then there’s that awful September morning in 2001. I was sitting at my desk at home, going about my usual daily routine, when there came a frantic, persistent knocking at my door. My neighbors Jackie and Tommy, looking very somber and worried, brought the news of the plane crashes. Their TV was out, but they had seen news blurbs about it on the internet and came over to watch the television coverage. As the events unfolded and it became evident that it was a deliberate act, and as the nation scrambled to respond and to prepare for who-knew-what, my first thoughts were of my family. Whitney was in high school, and I was worried that she would be afraid, worried that schools would be put on lock-down, worried that something would happen and I couldn’t get to her. Worried that my parents would be afraid. Worried about our nation’s future, and what the coming days would bring. We sat glued to the news on that dreadful Tuesday morning, and as we watched the towers crumble, saw the terrified, dust-covered men and women running through the streets, it was as though we were watching a scene from a horror movie. Could this really be happening? In AMERICA?? We watched as thousands lost their lives… all on live television. It was a horrific sight. For days and days, a little box was inset on the TV screen, cameras pointed at Ground Zero, as it would be called. People all over the world watched. Watched, hoped, prayed for survivors. Days passed and it soon became evident that no more would be found. Still, families and friends stood vigil, holding pictures of loved ones in the hope that someone had seen them. A new sense of patriotism and love of country was born amid the smoke and debris that day. Our heroes ceased to be sports figures and rock stars, and we paid homage to the brave public servants who tried valiantly to tame the chaos and save lives, many of whom lost their own in the process. To say that our world changed that day would be the understatement of the century. The events that transpired that quiet morning have forever shaped the way we conduct our business, how and where we travel, and the way we view our Muslim neighbors, both here and abroad. Religious profiling? Absolutely. Fair? Perhaps. Expected? Yes, I think so. That thought is post-worthy in itself and will not be examined today. Political or religious differences aside, let us pause for a moment today and reflect on the changes brought about that day, and purpose in our own life to be the best person that we can possibly be, and to make our life count for something. Pray for our nation, pray for our leaders, regardless of party affiliation. Pray for America to regain the strength and respect that once would have prohibited such an evil act. And support your local volunteer fire department! God Bless America!!