weekend you and I will join Americans everywhere in remembering the
tenth anniversary of the events of 9-11. Usually, an anniversary is a
time for celebration. That will not be the case on this date for this
will not be an occassion we celebrate. Rather, it will be a time
of remembrance: remembering those who were lost that day -moms and
dads, sons and daughters, friends - loved ones who are still greatly
It is a day we will
honor those who gave their lives trying to save others, the first
responders; heroes, all. They showed us the very best of what it
means to be an American. Something only those who love freedom can
ever truly understand; something that those who oppose freedom can
never vanquish, no matter how hard they try.
This will be one of
those days that all of us will be able to reflect upon and remember
exactly where we were when we first learned of this cowardly attack.
We still carry the emotions that we experienced as we watched the
events unfold on our televisions. We will be able to recall the
horror, the emptiness inside us. We will not forget the pain we felt
for those who perished, the sorrow that welled up inside us for their
families and loved ones. And, we will remember the overwhelming
desire each of us had to have our own families near us and to hold
This will not be a
day for celebration but, for remembering. For reflection. For the
resolve to continue to move forward. For, it is an event that is ever
with us; having been woven into the very fabric of our country.
Even today, our
nation is paying the price in the lives of our men and women in the
military who are serving in foreign lands to ensure the safety of our
own. And, no matter how we may feel about the wars in which we are
engaged, this weekend is also a time to remember and honor those serve
and those who have lost their lives and loved ones in the ongoing war
on terrorism. Having come full circle, these include children of
those killed in the attacks of 9-11.
As we mark this
tenth anniversary, we will also remember that in the days immediately
following the attack we put aside our sorrow and our pain, our fears
and our personal concerns and we did what Americans always do and
what we do best - we united in our support of our fellow countrymen
in New York and Washington DC. Our people came from all parts of the
country to help with the search and rescue effort, to care for those
who were hurting, to give whatever assistance was needed.
Evil intended to
inflict great harm upon our nation; instead, it revealed our
strength, our courage, our determination. It showed the resolve that
Americans throughout our history have held to, the resolve that
freedom must and will endure - that the flames of liberty will not
and cannot be extinguished.
When faced with the
Cuban Missile Crisis, President John F. Kennedy addressed the nation
"The cost of
freedom is always high - but Americans have always paid it. And one
path we shall never choose, and this is the path of surrender or
submission. Our goal is not victory of might but the vindication of
right - not peace at the expense of freedom, but both peace and
freedom, here in this hemisphere and, we hope, around the world. God
willing, that goal will be achieved."
anniversary should be more than a time of remembrance. Maybe it
should also be a celebration - a celebration of the freedom we so
cherish and have fought so hard and so often to protect and to give
to others. Perhaps as we reflect on the events of 9-11 this weekend,
we should not only mourn the lives of those we have lost, but also
celebrate the lives and efforts of those who defend this freedom we
hold so dear.
much has changed in our country as a result of those events on
September 11, 2001. We now have to terrorist alerts, we have become a
little more aware and suspicious of our surroundings, and there are
new inconveniencies we have to deal with, such as when traveling by
air. Those are the downside.
There are also some
positives. For example, we sing the national anthem with a lot more
vigor, we fly the flag more often at our home and on our vehicles, we
pray a little harder for our nation, and when we see our soldiers
returning home our hearts swell with pride and we give them the honor
they are due. We have been reminded that we are Americans! We do not
run away from tragedy, we run to it - together.
The lasting image
for me of 9-11 is not the building falling, it is not the terror on
the faces of those who were running away from the buildings; what
does not escape me is the police officers, firemen, paramedics, and
other first responders who were rushing towards the buildings. That,
to me, is a picture of our nation, at its best.
For, in the worst
of times, in the most dire of situations, Americans do not scatter as
our enemies would hope for; no, we come together. We cling to the
freedom that we hold so dear. We embrace one another. It cuts across
economics, ethnic backgrounds, and the color of one's skin. In that
moment, we become what we truly are - one people - united; bound
together by something greater than ourselves.
What better time
than the anniversary of 9-11 to set aside partisan politics and
personal agendas, to remember the common heritage that binds us, and
to join together in attacking the problems facing our nation today.
What better way to remember this anniversary and celebrate the lives
of those we lost, than to let it stir us to action as it did ten
Many of our people
are suffering the effects of the economy - let's lend a helping hand.
Many families are without mom or dad, husband or wife, because they
are serving our country in another land - let's reach out to them.
Some of our soldiers are returning from combat and still experiencing
the effects, either physically or emotionally, let's help bring the
healing that they need.
Let's not wait for
government to do it. Let's take it on ourselves - let's show what
Americans are made of, once more. And, if we are a follower of
Christ, should we not be at the forefront of this effort? If it is
within our power and resources to be of help, shouldn't we do it?
Jesus never ran
from the danger, he always ran to it. He did not run from the cross,
he ran toward it and embraced it - for me, and for you.
Let me suggest we
start running toward the problems facing our nation today, rather
than worrying about them, complaining about them, or trying to avoid
them. I know these are tough times for many of us and the problems
may seem insurmountable. They seemed even greater on 9-11, ten years
ago; but, we got through it. We will get through this, as well.
created by 9-11 were so great there is no way all the needs could be
adequately met; however, Americans took care of the ones that they
could. We should do no less today.
Now, if you will
pardon me, I need to lace up my running shoes. Gotta run.
...let us run with
endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus,
the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him
endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right
hand of the throne of God.