Wow. Ten years ago today, the World Trade Center Towers were brought down in an evil, cowardly act of, not only terrorism but an act of war. As we stop to remember all of the friends, neighbors, and loved ones who were murdered on that day (let's call it what it is), we all think about where we were and what we were doing, what was happening in our lives that in an instant was dwarfed by what we were witnessing when we turned on the television set that bright sunny September morning.
I was 24 days away from my wedding. My biggest worries were cakes, flowers, and my first dress fitting scheduled for the following Saturday. It seems selfish now, compared to the sacrifice made by so many others that day, but my first thought was, "The world can't be coming to an end, I'm getting married in three weeks!"
So much has happened in the ensuing ten years. How many terror plots have been thwarted that the American people know nothing about? Are we safer as a nation since Sept. 11, 2001? Anyone who flies on a regular basis has some pretty straightforward opinions on that I'm sure. We do know that Osama Bin Laden is gone. I'm guessing that there are no virgins where he is at, imagine his surprise. Al Quaida has been shattered into a million pieces thanks to the awesome men and women of the U.S. Military. The Freedom Tower in New York City is rising ever higher, scheduled to open sometime next year. A massive tribute to the strength, resilience, and refusal of Americans not to let a bunch of thugs have the last word.
As I watched the 9/11 programming this morning I was struck by one thing. These terrorists lived and worked among Americans for years as they were plotting this horrific event, but apparently, they never learned anything about us. As people wept and mourned the loss of their loved ones, and those they did not know, the Police, Firefighters, EMS, and scores of other first responders, as soon as an American flag was unfurled, or the Star Spangled Banner began to play, they yelled, cheered, and pumped fists in the air, they chanted, "USA USA!" They did not learn that even in our grief, we are fiercely proud of America and being Americans, and that maybe we were down for a moment in time, but we were coming right back, and when we did, not God, nor Allah, nor anyone else was going to be of help to them now. In fact, if we had anything to say about it, they were going to meet one or all of them very soon.
The best way I can think of to sign off today, is to say Thank You to the Men and Women of the U.S. Military, Police, Firefighters, and EMS crews who risk their lives everyday to keep us and our country safe.