In light of the 10th Anniversary of the 9/11 tragedy, I am going to speak to the subject of America in all her glory and majesty; all the truths we hold as self-evident that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
As I sat in the little cubicle, in the software company where I worked, in Middle-America, an exasperated exclamation came from the cubicle next to mine, "An airplane just hit the World Trade Center in New York!" The chitter chatter of the support representatives in the room ceased into a deafening silence. Moments later it was announced another plane had hit. The clicking of mouse buttons could be heard in the quiet of the room, as each representative made their way to their favorite news sites on the web.
On that day, we became Americans; together. All our ancestral knowledge of what our country was, and is, came flooding to the forefront of our minds. In our little room, we had people descended from Norway, Scotland, Ireland, Germany,and immigrants from India, among others; just like the people who were now under attack a thousand miles away.
We didn't notice it at the time, but planes were taking off, from our little airport in Middle-America, streaking their way across the skies at Mach speed. They were our boys, answering the call of duty. Each of the pilots knowing this may be their last flight. The planes were fully locked and loaded ready for battle. They had no idea what they were flying into on the east coast, but they donned their flight suits just the same. Years later, while touring this little airport, I learned that these young men were among the pilots of the planes that circled over Washington, DC that fateful day in American history. God bless the North Dakota Air National Guard. I no longer have the disk containing the official flight photo from that day, it belongs to a young boy who was on that tour - who now serves in the United States Military.
Firefighters, police officers, emergency personnel, and even clergy were dispatched, from throughout the nation, to the heart of the battle that raged in our port city of New York. They descended upon our capitol in DC to ensure that all was made right in the world - as right as it could be in the heat of the moment. They gathered on a field in Pennsylvania to assess the situation and bring a sense of comfort and security to those who were distraught with disbelief of what had happened.
Citizens, from all across the land, rose up in a unified front to serve and protect our nation, alongside those who were sworn to do so. They caravanned to the pits of hell bringing food, water, clothing, and a spirit of patriotism unlike any we have seen in our living history.
5,000 people gave their lives that day. They did not lose their lives. Their lives carry on, each and every day, as a rememberance that Freedom is NOT free. Freedom is not guaranteed by the simple fact America exists. These 5,000 people were global citizens from America, and all around the world - but on that day, on 9/11, they were Americans. They were one of us.
On Sunday, when all the fanfare will commence, to recognize, appreciate and memorialize those who were affected by the attacks of 9/11, remember - you also were affected. You are a citizen, or resident, of the United States of America. You answered the call of duty on that day through your tears, your sorrow, and your spirit of patriotism.
On that day, we put aside our differences and answered the call of duty as a one nation, standing together, for the common goal of letting freedom ring.
My deepest condolences to those who lost loved ones on 9/11. They are gone, but live on today as the spirit that drives the call of duty.