Today we remember with sadness the tragedy of 9/11. We give thanks for all those who have and continue to give their lives for our great nation's freedoms. May we never forget the lives sacrificed on that day, or the unity and somber pride we felt as Americans that day and every day since.
Like most Americans, I remember exactly where I was when I heard the news of that awful morning. We were eating breakfast as a family when a call came on the phone to turn on the news. I remember tears being shed as we held each other in shock and fear.
That night, we watched on television as the Cadets of the United States Military Academy at West Point held a candelight vigil, the first time in history that such an event was held for an event other than the death of a current Cadet. Our oldest son, Brian, had just recently begun his first year of training there. My wife, Joye, and I were proud of his decision to serve but we worried as we wondered what his military service might bring in the surely troubling and difficult years ahead.
Fortunately, this great nation has risen from the ashes of that tragedy. We are blessed to continue to enjoy the freedoms espoused in our Constitution. I am reminded of the lyrics of the beautiful hymn “America the Beautiful”:
“O beautiful for heroes proved
In liberating strife.
Who more than self their country loved
And mercy more than life!
May God thy gold refine
Till all success be nobleness
And every gain divine!
O beautiful for patriot dream
That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam
Undimmed by human tears!
God shed his grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!”