By: Donna King
On Thursday, September 11, our nation will pause and remember that tragic day 13 years ago when the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and Flight 93 were attacked. We were shocked, and we were scared. I called my husband, my children, and my mother. You probably did too. In our amazement, we were eager to locate those we love most.
Suddenly, I did not feel like I was in the “Land of the Free, and the Home of the Brave.” All I could think was, “Not in America,” even though all have been touched by war, tragedy, and death in some way, the events of September 11 were especially heartbreaking. My generation has never known the horror of an enemy attack on the home front in this massive way before September 11, 2001.
I have been right there in New York City and Washington, D.C. Probably many of you have as well. These are the cities that Americans want to visit. It is in these places where history lies. Even if one does not enjoy the big city life, he or she knows New York because movies and television have made that city a familiar place for all Americans. In my opinion, one cannot visit our beautiful capital, Washington, D.C., enough. I marvel at its beauty and majesty every time I am there.
My father served as a captain in the U.S, Air Force during World War II. My step-grandfather served in the Army in Germany under General George Patton. My brother served as a medic helicopter pilot in Vietnam, and my husband served for six years in the Georgia National Guard. He fought in Atlanta during the Civil Rights Movement.
My Revolutionary War ancestor was Anthony Bledsoe of Virginia, and he fought against the British to win our independence from England in 1776. All Americans have had family members who have defended our precious freedom. However, the events of September 11 were different. Suddenly, our home soil was under siege. Surprise was the tactic, and we were all in shock.
As we remember the victims, the survivors, and the families, we have been changed forever by these tragic events. While we cannot live in a vacuum, we all think twice before boarding a plane, train, bus, or even our own car today.
Wars have occurred since the beginning of time. Some wars occur in private homes every day. Others are fought worldwide. Still, others are clandestine attacks on unsuspecting bystanders.
The Bible teaches us how to live peaceably. Philosophers, American and foreign authors, poets, and preachers teach us how to live peacefully. Yet, we don’t.
However, one thing remains a universal truth. Everyone desires to live free. Our United States Constitution guarantees our freedom. Unfriendly, deceitful people invaded our freedoms on September 11, and we are a nation changed forever.
As I reflect upon that tragic day, I look around and see our American flag. The same flag was raised at Hiroshima, Japan and Ground Zero alike. The flag still flies all over the world to represent our American ideals. It offers hope of peace, and a sense of patriotism fills my spirit. I realize that America is, indeed, still “The Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave.”
It is pleasing to see so many homes flying our flag. We are Americans and we are still free to choose “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Let us make the choice to honor God, home, and country. Let us realize that no one’s happiness can be gained at the expense of someone else. I, for one, am thankful to the only God I have ever known because He placed me in America where I am free, and for the most part, safer than anywhere else on this earth.
God bless our home, God bless our military, and God bless America!