Sep 11, 2011

Days that live in infamy

I'm too young to remember Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.

Or Lexington, Massachusetts on April 19, 1775.

Or Fort Sumter, South Carolina on January 9, 1861.

But I do remember my generation's day that "lives in infamy," as President Roosevelt famously put it so many years ago.

It started out a typical Wednesday morning on September 11, 2001, when our nation was suddenly under deadly attack.  I remember returning home from carpool and watching in disbelief and horror as one, then two towers crumbled and fell.

I remember the horrific sight of a plane slammed into the Pentagon.  And another plane crash-landing in a Pennsylvania field.

All my life I've heard people say, "freedom isn't free."  But on that fateful day, I saw first-hand the awful price of freedom.  It was exacted in the blood of my fellow countrymen and women who happened to be on the wrong plane or in the wrong place at the wrong time.  Since that day, freedom's price has continued to be bought through brave men and women who choose to stand in harm's way to keep us safe.

On that September day, all I wanted to was drive to back to the schools and grab my kids out of their classes and hold them tight.  But I wasn't sure the teachers or students were aware of what had happened, and I didn't want to panic them.  So I watched and waited, paced and bit my nails until it was time to pick them up.  And then I hugged and held them.  And told them I didn't know why this happened anymore than they did.

As the days and weeks, months and years have passed, the details of that day are no longer as achingly sharp as they were ten years ago. But every time I see a soldier, or hear our national anthem, or see my country's flag flying, I remember.  Vividly.  When we visited NYC in December 2007, I peeked past the construction fence at Ground Zero.  And I remembered.

Every day I thank God for this country--for the freedoms we have and hold, and often take for granted. May God continue to patiently protect us, and may we and our leaders turn to Him to seek wisdom and His favor in the decisions that affect us all.

And I am thankful - this day and every day - for the sacrifice paid by so many men and women on that day and in the days that have followed.  I don't know what makes someone a true hero, but I am convinced each of these men and women deserves our respect, our thoughts, our prayers, and our gratitude.

In remembrance,