9/11: Fifteen years ago time stood still

9/11.  It is the one day in the history of our lifetime when no matter whom you ask, everyone knows exactly where they were and what they were doing at the moment they heard about the attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and what probably would have been the United States Capitol or the White House.  We watched the television coverage with tears in our eyes and hands over our mouths in disbelief.

9/11.  A day in our history that claimed thousands of lives and created hundreds of heroes.  In unspeakable moments televised for the world to watch, people jumped out of burning buildings to their deaths while firefighters made their way up the towers to rescue the living.  Then the unthinkable happened and the buildings collapsed.  In the midst of the tangled steel and crushed concrete, heroes searched for survivors and recovered the dead.  The heroes were men, women and even search and rescue dogs.  Some from hundreds of miles away and some from next door to the wreckage.  While most were running away from the terror, our heroes were running straight for it knowing they may not come back from where they were going.

9/11.  It is the very day in the history of our lifetime that forever changed every single American’s life, way of life and fear.  Before 9/11 we were afraid of…well…not much.  In fact, for most Americans it was not even in the realm of reality that someone, anyone, a country, much less a group whom most of us had never heard of could attack us on our soil.  And after 9/11 it became a fear that it would happen again.  Innocence and naivety were stripped away.

9/11.  It deepened our resolve as Americans, made us stand taller and prouder than we had in a long time.  Our wounds were screaming at us to do something, to lash out, to let them hear us.  Battle songs were written with lyrics like, “Justice will be served and the battle will rage.  This big dog will fight when you rattle it’s cage.  You’ll be sorry that you messed with the U.S.A.” (Toby Keith)  And when the rage calmed, this song was written (Alan Jackson) “Where were you when the world stopped turning that September day? …Did you stand there in shock at the sight of that black smoke rising against that blue sky?  Did you shout out in anger, in fear for your neighbor, or did you just sit down and cry?”  The sale of American flags skyrocketed and men and women joined the military in unprecedented numbers.

9/11.  The day changed the way wars are fought.  How do we fight a group of people who wish us harm and represent an ideology rather than a country?  They weren’t from just one place but many.  How do you take a fight to those people?  We had to figure that out and in a hurry.  The hunt for the group’s leader, Osama bin Laden began in the mountains of Afghanistan.

9/11.  Fifteen years ago seems so far away and yet the memories burn as if it happened yesterday.  Osama bin Laden is dead, but his terror lives on and yet many of us find ourselves back in the same place we were on 9/10.  Innocent and naive.  Another song comes to mind.  “Have you forgotten how it felt that day?  To see your homeland under fire and her people blown away.  Have you forgotten when those towers fell?…Have you forgotten?” (Darryl Worley).

9/11.  Let us never forget.  Let us always remember and honor those who lost their lives in the events of 9/11 and those who have fallen in the fight against terror.  Our lives will never be the same.  Out of the wreckage stand two beautiful towers and a memorial as our reminder.  The scars of that day remain, our resolve remains.  The memories are still vivid.  The lives lost are still on our minds.  The videos of the planes slamming into the towers are still in motion in our eyes.  We resolve to never forget.

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