Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Patriot Day

Do you remember where you were and what you were doing September 11th, 2001? I sure do. I remember it like it was yesterday.

I was stationed at Ft. Benning, GA. I was a machine gun instructor and was preparing to teach some basic trainee’s. Several other non-commissioned officers and I were inside our range building watching “Good Morning America.” And about the time the show was about to sign off, Charles Gibson reported that a plane had hit one of the twin towers. My immediate thought was that a small plane had misjudged course and crashed. However moments later, the television channel showed a live feed of the World Trade Center as smoke and flames poured out of the north tower.

Everyone in or small range building watched in stunned and silent disbelief. Moments later, we witnessed a second plane hit the south tower and part of the building erupt in flames. Seconds, perhaps minutes passed before someone said what we were all probably thinking. “We are under attack.”

Little did we know the events of that tragic day would send our country and many of us within that room to war.

Looking back, I can recall how our country and the citizens of this great country acted. We were united. We came together through a terrible tragedy. I think it is safe to say, that for the most part, we appreciated each other. We respected each other. And we were grateful for life. We were grateful for those first responders and innocent people that gave their lives. We stood united and most certainly appreciated the members of our military for answering their nation’s call to war.

On Patriots Day I ask that you do not waste a breath complaining about life. There were 2,977 victims that tragic day. Over 6,000 service members have been killed in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. They cannot be here. Over 50,000 have been physically wounded in those wars. And an estimated 600,000 are battling the unseen wounds of war such as Traumatic Brain Injury and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Be thankful and stop complaining.

I would recommend that you take the time to shake the hand of a first responder or veteran.

Be grateful that you have a life. Be grateful for those that have given their lives. Take time to remember that life is precious. Please remember the victims who gave their lives that day. And please do not forget the thousands of veterans and their families that have been affected by the wars that followed.

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