Pausing To Reflect On 9/11
Monday, September 10, 2012
- by Eric Watson
Across our great country and throughout the world, Americans will pause today to honor our brave fighting men and women who for more than 228 years have underwritten our freedom by their duty, honor, and selfless-service. Today, we will commemorate the 11th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center of Sept. 11, 2001.
Images of the airplanes crashing into the Twin Towers and the resulting fire and black clouds of smoke are seared into our minds for a lifetime. It is one of those tragedies that every person can recall where he or she was when the news was received. Much will be written and done about marking this date in the nation’s history, but chief among the events will be the dedication of the National September 11 Memorial & Museum which is today, Sept. 11, 2011, in a ceremony for victims’ families.
It is a tribute of remembrance and honor to the 2,982 people killed in the terror attacks of Feb. 26, 1993, and Sept. 11, 2001, at the World Trade Center site, in a field near Shanksville, Pa., and at the Pentagon. The Sept. 11 Memorial design is defined by two reflecting pools, a grove of trees and the names of the victims inscribed in bronze. The reflecting pools are nearly an acre in size and feature the largest manmade waterfalls in North America. The pools sit within the footprints where the Twin Towers once stood.
In her book, Let’s Roll: Finding Hope in the Midst of Crisis, Lisa Beamer writes about her feelings on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001: “In that dark moment, my soul cried out to God, and He began to give me a sense of peace and a confidence that the children and I were going to be OK. But even that comfort didn’t take away the wrenching pain of the awful sense of loss I felt.”
Every person who lost a loved one in those attacks went through, and still lives with, heart-wrenching loss. But for the Christian, there is hope. Even Todd Beamer, Lisa’s husband and one of the heroes of Flight 93, turned to God in the midst of his own trial. With a telephone operator, he prayed the Lord’s Prayer, recited the 23rd Psalm and was heard to whisper, “Help me, Jesus,” several times before calling his fellow passengers to action: “Let’s roll!” Those with a sure confidence in God’s purposes and plans are never frozen by fear. Todd Beamer was not. Lisa Beamer is not. And you will not be, through faith in the goodness of God.
More than likely, you will not face a crisis of the magnitude of 9/11 – although in your mind and heart, it may seem to be just as formidable – but the fact that God has a plan, not your knowledge of the plan, is the basis of your peace and hope. On September 12, 2001 we (as a nation) made a promise to “never forget.” And ten years later, we haven’t forgotten. It’s hard to believe it’s been ten years since that tragic day—I can clearly remember it.
But look how far we’ve come. We’ve spread freedom around the world. We stood our ground, said this would not stand, that those responsible would be brought to justice—and that’s exactly what we did. We recognize that all our service men and women and emergency responders have given something of themselves to their community and their country and some have given all -- laying down their lives to defend the freedoms we hold so dear.
Today, we especially honor those who have given their lives in the defense of liberty and we also recognize everyone who has worn the uniform of this great nation, our military, fireman and rescue personnel, Ems, and our law enforcement officers. To all our veterans and emergency responders we have a simple yet heartfelt message -- thank you -- all of you, for your service. We want you to know that your example serves to inspire others who follow in your footsteps. Thank you for your selfless-service in peacetime and war, on that tragic day in September 2001, and here in this nation and throughout the world.
Regardless of their service and the era in which they have served, have paid a price for the freedom we enjoy. They have paid with their courage and honor. They have defended America through both the best and worst of times and they have performed their difficult duties tirelessly, with little recognition or fanfare. They have sought neither fortune nor fame. A simple love of country and liberty compelled them to serve this great nation of ours.
We salute them now for this selfless-service and recognize that their devotion to duty makes them a source of inspiration for all to recognize. They know what it is like to stand guard in the chill of the night while others sleep. They understand the meaning of hardship; standing watch at freedom's frontier far from loved ones. They have seen the horror of war and even death first hand. Yet they endure, and it is this devotion to duty that gives us strength. It inspires today's military men and women and emergency service workers to serve. Looking out on the world today, we can see how this unbroken line of heroes continues the work.
Today’s armed forces embody the "Spirit of 1776." Now however, instead of militias and the Continental Army of General George Washington protecting this nation, it is a team of National Guardsmen, Reservists, and active duty Soldiers who help defend our towns and cities. Together with state and local authorities, these modern day patriots form a team that is our nation's first line of defense against terrorists and other threats to our livelihood. At home and throughout the world, our Soldiers uphold the finest traditions of veterans from other bygone eras.
In Europe they continue the legacy begun by the “Doughboys” of World War I, and continued through World War II and the Cold War. Today as members of the NATO alliance, our Soldiers guarantee peace and stability throughout Europe. In Korea, the legacy of veterans who fought for and sustained a fragile peace on the Korean peninsula continues. Today, nearly half a century after our military led a United Nations force that stopped communist aggression, an unbroken line of American Soldiers continues to stand guard for freedom at Korea’s 38th parallel.
In that time, we have seen a free and democratic Republic of Korea prosper and the false promises of communism revealed by the depriving of North Korea. Together with a coalition of many nations, our military ended the deadly regime of a ruthless dictator and freed the people of Iraq from more than thirty years of terror and oppression. Now as the fight for democracy continues, it is our Soldiers who help underwrite the transition to a free and democratic Iraq.
Currently, our Soldiers are serving in 120 countries throughout the world, and the legacy of our veterans continues to inspire each of them to answer the call to duty. So today when you join me in thanking our veterans for their service, applaud them not only for their past service, but the example they set for our current and future military. Let us also take this moment to thank those who uphold the legacy of the veterans – our troops still serving their country at home and abroad. For we have learned from the past that our military needs our support. Korea and Vietnam have taught us this lesson.
After the Korean War, our veterans returned home to a country that appeared indifferent to their service. After Vietnam, our military faced scorn from some circles. Scorn and indifference have no place in our heroes’ homecoming. Instead, let us show our gratitude by welcoming all our heroes home when they return to the cities and towns they so bravely defended. In the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on American soil, our military did the job of taking the fight to the enemy in Afghanistan and Iraq. But that is not enough.
We now know our enemies will not be deterred solely by our ability to retaliate. We will be vigilant. We will maintain our fighting spirit and our values. For our emergency service workers and our law enforcement officers, they draw their strength from their values: loyalty, duty, respect, selfless-service, honor, integrity, and personal courage.
These values have always been with them, and they continue to sustain us. The horror of 9/11 demonstrated to many that we cannot take our past peace and prosperity for granted.
But our 911 workers already knew this. They know our nation was founded not on the guarantees of the past, but the promise of the future. They know that freedom isn’t free and that eternal vigilance is the price we must always pay for our liberty. What we must resolve is to now keep faith with our emergency service workers and our military.
We must also thank and support our veterans for their outstanding and selfless-service to our nation. Let us thank them not only today but every day. Remember the 911 workers and the price they pay physically and emotionally to keep this nation safe. Remember our troops -- America’s future veterans – America’s sons and daughters, who have selflessly made the decision to defend your right to make the decision to come here today.
Additionally, remember our military and local emergency service workers families also have paid a price for freedom. We may never be able to adequately thank them, but we must always support them. With your support they will continue to honor their sacred duty of protecting this nation, our fellow citizens, and the freedoms we hold so dear.
God told us in Psalms 55:22 that “ He will never let the righteous fall.” God is faithful and grace is free.. And the greatest reflection of Christ any person can show is to lay down their life for another. In that, many emergency service workers have reflected the example of Christ…
Rep. Eric Watson