Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Remembering 911

I am a little stressed this week. We are in the middle of corn harvest and that is stressful enough, but this week is extra stressful. On top of harvest, we have two football games, a volleyball game, softball practice, a church meeting and the Kansas State Fair. Finding my focus to write a column was a little hare, until I looked at the date.
I write these columns every Tuesday for the next week and I always put the date on the top of the page. That is when I noticed the date, September 11. That date is one that will live in infamy in the history of or great nation, a true dark day on the calendar each year. It is a date that those of us who were alive on that day will never forget, and we never should.
I can tell you exactly where I was that morning. I was sitting on my couch, pulling on my boots, watching the kids and talking to my wife when the news broke. Good Morning America was on in the background like it is every morning when the breaking news of a plane flying into the World Trade Center came across the screen. I then watched the image of the second plane in disbelief. Those kinds of things just didn’t happen to us.
I remember reluctantly leaving my young family and heading into work. The world around me seemed eerily quiet and subdued. I listened to the news reports all the way into my office. When I reached the office, I found my co-workers huddled around the small TV in the break room watching the news unfold. That is where I learned about the plane hitting the Pentagon and the plane crashing in Pennsylvania. Everything was turned upside down, should we go home, were there other attacks coming? I remember a sense of loss, fear and dread, we all operated in a trance that day.
As the day, the week and the month carried on, I also remember the helpless feeling of not being able to do anything. I wanted so badly to lash out at the evil people who had done this horrible thing to my country, but I couldn’t do anything. However, I also remember another feeling that stemmed from that awful day, a great pride in this nation that I love.
I listened in awe to the story of the heroes who took matters into their own hands in that plane above Pennsylvania. I watched as many people set aside their own worries about safety to search for survivors at the crash sites. Accounts came out about the brave first responders who answered the call that morning, many of whom did not come home. I have had the opportunity to visit Trade Center site, it is a gut-wrenching feeling knowing you are standing on the very site where thousands of innocent people lost their lives.
Then in the months to come, I watched as we rallied around each other to confront the evil first-hand. I cannot express the gratitude I have for those brave men and women who enlisted to fight for my family and our shared freedoms. Not only did we defend ourselves but ultimately we made the world a safer place to live in. We may have many different opinions in this nation, but we can still come together when pushed.
There are many things that concern me a great deal about our country and our society, but that horrible day did bring one thing to light. Deep down, we still have a lot of fight left in us. We may squabble, we may have misplaced some of our priorities and there are a lot of problems we need to fix. But the truth is that we live in the greatest nation in the world, we are free to worship where we want, to say what we need too and to be who we want to be. That is something no one, no evil can take away from us.
I think this is important to remember as we enter into what looks to be a very hard fought election year. We may have differences but we are all still citizens of the greatest nation in the world, the nation that much of the rest of the world looks to for peace and stability. While we must continue to work hard so our nation can continue to be leading world force. However, we must also take time this September 11 to remember the victims and the heroes and to give thanks for our blessings.

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