To Those Who Don’t Remember…

Today marks the 17th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Those of us who lived through it know full well what happened that day. We remember the crystal clear blue sky that morning, with all of us going about our normal day, when in a split second, life in the United States and the world changed forever.

But as I learned over the years, much to my dismay, the majority of children who did not experience that day have no emotional connection to it. They see it as the day some planes were taken over by bad people who crashed them into buildings causing the twin towers to fall.  And while we cannot expect them to truly ever feel what we did on that Tuesday morning, we must try and preserve the impact. The horror. The heroism. The confusion. The disbelief. The anger.

I know not everyone agrees with me about remembering this day and that is fine.  I know there are parents who do not even tell their children about it because it is so disturbing but you cannot hide history.  I know there are schools who sugarcoat what happened because they do not want to scare students or make them feel unsafe.  I think this is wrong. We MUST remember.  We MUST acknowledge what happened that day and how we came together as a nation and how we helped each other and how we we rebuilt the greatest city in the world.  Students today should know about the amazing heroism and sacrifice of those aboard Flight 93.  They should know about the rescues that occurred at the Pentagon.  They should know. They must know.

To those of you who don’t remember – September 11, 2001 was one of the worst days in American history.  You have heard that before. It was so much more than just two buildings getting knocked down. People were in those buildings. People were in their offices.  People were riding in elevators.  People were in restaurants and at the front desks greeting visitors and employees as they arrived for work. There were firemen, policemen and first-responders who went into the buildings to assess the damage and see if they could save others. I often wonder how many of those firemen knew the extent of the damage and yet, went into harm’s way anyway knowing their own lives would very possibly end.

It was more than just planes crashing into buildings and into a field in Pennsylvania. Innocent passengers were on those flights. Pilots and stewardesses with families and friends were in those seats. The heroism on the passengers on Flight 93 is something that should be celebrated, as they likely saved the lives of hundreds of others. What did it feel like for them to willingly give their lives to save others? What about those at the Pentagon? The hub of our military operations.  One of the “safest” places in Washington.  When I heard the Pentagon also got hit, my legs felt weak and  a feeling of despair and terror washed over me as I realized our country was under attack, not just New York.

More importantly, I hope that each person reading this never has to experience what we did on that day, but for those who don’t remember…

Look at the pictures and video footage  of that day- our eyes were wide with horror, confusion, helplessness and disbelief.  As we closed our eyes to try and sleep that night, our minds replayed images of people running away from the buildings, of heroes running into the buildings, of people crying, of dust and debris all over New York, of papers from offices flying in the air, of the hole in the ground left by the plane in PA, of the fires at the Pentagon.

Listen to the stories of those who were in New York and Washington, of the cell phone calls made to loved ones from the towers or from Flight 93 – our ears were filled with the sounds of our countrymen in distress, of those who knew they were doing to die, of buildings collapsing with people still in them, of sirens, of voices yelling directions.  And the most poignant for me – the wails and cries of despair. They hurt my heart to this day.

Touch a friend or person you love – strangers were grabbing and hugging each other as they went through the worst experience of their lives. They helped each other to safety. We hugged our friends, families and coworkers, yearning for some type of comfort.

We must remember.

Americans rebounded, as we always do, from that devastating and cowardly attack on the innocent and on our country. But we are Americans. We are resilient. We are compassionate. We are determined. We are strong.

But on that day, we did not feel strong. We felt despair, we felt horror, we felt helpless, we felt confusion, we felt shock, we felt anger. We felt vengeful. So for those who don’t remember, I beg you to try. We cannot forget.

The songs below are three great summations of how many of us felt that day. I encourage everyone to listen to them.  I chose the live versions of all three songs so that you can see and feel the emotion these men put into them.  May God bless all of those who perished that day, all those who lost loved ones, and all of our troops past and present defending our freedom.  We will never forget.

 

 

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Do It Every Day

On Monday, we remembered and mourned those lost on 9/11/2001.  Many people proudly displayed their flags in honor of those lost in the attacks and to observe Patriot Day.

We see flags proudly flying on the 4th of July, Veterans’ Day and Memorial Day and it got me wondering why people do not fly flags every day? After all, we have active servicemen and women deployed around the world. While we enjoy the freedoms we have here in America and go about our daily lives, our military is protecting us and fighting for us each and every day.  Should we not fly the flag every day to honor them? I think we should.

If you are going to hang a flag at your home, make sure you follow the proper protocols. According to http://www.vfw.org:

Per Federal Flag Code, Section 2, paragraph (a), it is the universal custom to display the flag only from sunrise to sunset on buildings and on stationary flagstaffs in the open. However, when a patriotic effect is desired, the flag may be displayed twenty-four hours a day if properly illuminated during the hours of darkness.

There are many other protocols to follow such as never letting the flag touch the ground and those can be found at the website mentioned above.

Each time I hang the flag in the morning and bring it in at night, I take a moment to look at it.  I marvel in the red, white and blue and think of all those who wear the flag on a patch on their arm going into battle for you and me and how Old Glory is used to blanket the coffins of those who made the ultimate sacrifice for his/her countrymen. I say a quick prayer asking God to protect the brave men and women in our military and thank Him for putting such selfless and courageous people on earth. Without them, our lives would be totally different.

A few years ago, a campaign was started called “Green Light a Vet” to honor veterans. Green  is a symbol of hope, renewal, well-being and moving forward.  Many veterans returning from service are struggling in many different ways.  Shining a green light is a simple way to show our local veterans that we support and appreciate their service. It took quite a few trips to the store to finally find a green light to participate in this initiative, but it makes us feel good that if a veteran walks, jogs or drives past our house, they know they are not forgotten.  We never turn it off.

Flying the flag. To me, it is like eating, drinking breathing and praying. It is something I proudly do every day and hope more will too. 20160703_204316.jpg

 

(John 15:13 – Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.)

Respect the Position

 

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Happy Presidents’ Day!  This holiday was originally created to honor George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, two men who led the nation during very difficult times. Any president who led our country while we were at war had a tremendous task – to make sure that America was secure.  Over the years, the day has been changed to honor all of our presidents.  Men who chose and were elected to the highest position in the world.

I won’t talk politics, but will say a few things about the position of the President of the United States:

1.  It is not just the president who makes the decisions. He has numerous advisers, cabinet members and even family members and friends who affect what he does and says.  However, it is he who ends up taking the blame for his entire administration, which I guess is only right since he does have the final say.  But his decisions are based on information gathered and given by others.  He is only one man with many things to handle in American and overseas.  He must base his decisions from intelligence and the experience of others.  He does not and cannot possibly know every single thing about every single issue. He relies on others to do this for him.

2.  No matter how you feel about a president, he deserves respect.  He is the most powerful man in the world and he represents America.  I cannot stand when people publicly bad mouth our leader. While we do have freedom of speech, hearing someone call our president a “baffoon” or “idiot” on TV or in the newspaper makes our entire country look bad. Even if we think that, it should not be said publicly. You can certainly say it in your home or when you are with friends, and everyone is entitled to their opinions, but statements that degrade our president in front of the world make us look bad.

Years ago, while touring in England, the Dixie Chicks said they were “ashamed” of President Bush. I had a ticket to go see one of their concerts and immediately sold it.  I think it was disgraceful that they bad-mouthed the leader of our American family, especially in another country and especially during one of the most difficult periods in American history. Say what you want about Bush, but no other president was ever put in the situation he was and many would agree that 9/11 was by far, the darkest day in our history.  We needed to stand together, not blame one person for the response.  The same goes to those who blame President Clinton for not having Bin Laden killed when he had the chance or who feel that Bush knew there was a hijacking attempt in the works.  If you want to blame one man for 9/11, go ahead.  But blame the person who was really responsible –  Bin Laden.

I am glad that all of our presidents are honored today. While some certainly did more than others for our country, we have to remember the time period in which they served. If it was a peaceful time, they did not have to do too much.  But those who served during crises in America and  abroad are the ones we really remember.  Their ability to lead was put to the test.

A president’s legacy is all about timing.  And they have no idea what may happen while they are in office.  We have to hope and trust that whatever does happen, our chosen leader will assist and protect us to the best of his ability.  So, please – at the very least, respect the position of being President and while you can say and think what you want, remember who might be listening…