… As the ninth anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks approaches, everyone should pause in remembrance of the brave public servants that we lost. Many police officers, firefighters, and other emergency management personnel, gave their lives that tragic day. In their chosen careers, they understood the danger and were prepared to confront it head on. President Bush commented that a firefighter’s first act of bravery is taking the oath to serve. Such courage and dedication are indelible traits of these public servants.
The attacks forced us to reflect and refocus on our appreciation of freedom and the burden of safeguarding it. On a September 11 long ago, in fact it was 1777, Thomas Paine remarked, ‘Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom, must like men, undergo the fatigues of supporting it”. Our civilian emergency management leaders, firefighters, and law enforcement personnel understand this solemn truth.
… When others run from disaster, these public servants run into the line of fire. Their mission is to protect our communities, including schools, churches, and homes. Most of these public servants have their own families. Many of them are following in the footsteps of parents who were law enforcement professionals or firefighters.
In the aftermath of the terrorist attacks, citizens examined their hearts. They stopped to appreciate the quality of life that we enjoy by spending additional time with their children; taking in the natural beauty of the environment; and visiting monuments and landmarks dedicated to the history of the United States.
On the ninth anniversary of September 11, 2001, we must ponder how the attacks changed life in America . . . . and how the attacks changed us personally, in order to ensure that the deaths of the brave public servants were not in vain.
The courageous passengers of United Airlines Flight 93 took action on that day nine years ago that probably saved the lives of scores of people in Washington D.C. They banded together and stood up to evil.
The military and civilian personnel working in the Pentagon who were killed that day were playing an integral role in the defense of our nation. On a recent trip to Washington, I spent time at the September 11 Pentagon Memorial in prayer and reflection on their sacrifice and the blessings of our nation.
And of course, the largest group of deceased, the civilians who perished in the World Trade Center, was engaged as key players in a hallmark of our way of life: a strong and prosperous economy.
The legacies of all the deceased should embolden each of us to search for opportunities to make our country stronger.