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Remembering This Date

September 11, 2011 - Al Stephenson
December 7, 1941. A date that will live in infamy. The most remembered date in U.S. history now shares its status with another. September 11, 2001 has tied, if not surpassed it as the date that Americans will most likely remember for the rest of their lives.

I had the opportunity last fall to visit the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor and though I was not alive at the time of the attack, I was still moved by the memories that I had read about and watched on film as I stood and looked into the water that serves as a mass grave. I was alive for the attack on the Twin Towers and that makes the memories more vivid. It's hard to make a list about what one thinks about first when reliving that fateful day, but a couple come to mind.

Can you imagine a group of passengers on a plane storming the cockpit, trying to prevent armed hijackers from flying the plane into the Capitol Building or whatever their end destination was to be? Can you imagine being a NYC fireman and racing into those burning buildings to save lives as everyone else is running in the other direction? There were many heroes on 9/11. And many innocent victims. The Pearl Harbor attack was carried out by a government that already was at war. The attack on the Twin Towers was a different kind of war.

Now no one likes war. We would all favor world peace - if it were possible. But history has shown that peace is unlikely. We will always strive for it, but we need be ready in the event that war is inevitable. There will always be people in the world who are misguided, desparate, greedy or just plain evil. That is why nation's have militaries prepared for the inevitable. Men and women who are willing to risk their lives so that we may enjoy the freedoms that we hold so dear.

I don't know if there is a more nobler pursuit than serving in the armed forces. Yet we sometimes equate war with our soldiers and they sometimes receive unwarranted criticism. Along those lines, let me give you the opportunity to view a video. If you have not seen this YouTube tribute, you must view it. The piece was put together by a 15-year-old girl named Lizzie Palmer. It is entitled "Remember Me" and it's worth the search.

The view from my seat suggests that we live in a crazy world where anything can happen. The video will bring a tear to your eye, but this young lady is right on when she suggests that we should thank and support our soldiers every day.

It's the least we can do for those who do so much for us!


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