I rarely get very political on this blog. After all, it's a blog about my writing journey, the journey God is leading me on with what He's gifted me to do. However, today I feel I need to speak out. Too many people who have a vehicle to speak to the world through media are saying some pretty astounding things about September 11, 2001, and about the U.S.A. in general.
I've heard a lot of hate for this country spewing from some peoples' mouths. People who are American citizens rising up against the U.S. like a pack of Benedict Arnolds. Ironically, the very country they love to hate is the country that gives them the freedom to rant. Don't they realize that they have the freedom to speak no matter how outlandish their beliefs might be. They have the freedom to worship however they choose. They have the freedom to own property and make as much money as they possibly can as long as they do it legally. By our Bill of Rights they have these rights and more. Yet for whatever reason, they choose to hate the very country that gives them the right to speak out.
September 11, 2001, was a watershed day. From that point on life as we knew it would never be the same. I remember when a coworker came to my office and told me a plane had just flown into the World Trade Center. I pictured a small Cessna or something like that. Of course, I was wrong. Everyone in our office sat transfixed in front of a TV that was hastily connected, staring in shock at the screen, watching shell-shocked people covered in white dust run from the buildings. We saw the buildings collapse, yet it hadn't sunk in this was really happening. This wasn't any movie. And then we heard about the Pentagon and later Flight 93 going down in PA. As time went by I learned of so many connections between the people who died that day and people who live in my area, including Todd Beamer, the Christian man who went down on Flight 93.
I remember the stone-still silence that pervaded the skies overhead over the next several days. Living in the Chicago area, the only sound that could be heard was the occasional F-16 as it circled overhead, protecting us. I remember the day I heard one of those F-16s scramble right above where I live to intercept a plane carrying what turned out to be a disturbed young man and his dad trying to fly home once the airlines were free to move about again. The young man had made a threat to the pilot and no one was taking any chances.
I was assured that day that our Armed Forces were doing all they could to protect us from further attack. Then later, of course, came Iraq and the fall of Saddam. I am grateful to every person who has voluntarily joined up and gone to war for us and for our freedoms.
Rodeo organizers always make sure the flag is honored (The picture here is from one we went to in Indiana a couple years ago.) and the rodeo we attended over Labor Day was no exception. They not only honored the flag, but also thanked those who have gone to war to protect us. At each performance a different young man from that small farming area was honored. A man who had left his family, job, and personal pleasures to serve his country and had returned home safely. While the announcer described what a soldier encounters each day, the man made a slow walk the length of the arena where he was joined by his family. The entire place erupted with cheers and applause in thanks. There was also thanks for those that didn't make it home at each performance when the parents of a fallen soldier were thanked and their sons' sacrifice acknowledged by a symbolic riderless horse.
This week a fellow ACFW member and blogging pal, Winter, will be welcoming her husband home from Iraq. She's basically been a single mom for a year, raising their four young children on her own and keeping the home fires burning. He's already in the States and by this weekend that family will be reunited.
I can't thank all the soldiers who have served personally, but whenever I see a soldier I go up to him and thank him for what he is doing. It's my way of saying thanks to all the soldiers who have fought to pretect our freedoms.
When you see a soldier, be sure to say thanks. He or she needs to hear it.
I'm proud to be an American and I hope you are too.