Commemorating Patriot Day

Published 10:29 am Friday, September 9, 2011

To the Editor:
Ten years ago at 8:45 a.m., the first plane crashed into one of the World Trade Center Towers.
At 9:03 a.m., the second plane crashed into the other tower.
At 9:43 a.m., an aircraft crashed into the Pentagon.
At 10:05 a.m., the south tower collapsed.
At 10:10 a.m., a plane crashed in Somerset County, Pa.
At 10:28 a.m., the north tower collapsed.
The events that occurred in 2001 on Sept. 11 shocked and staggered our nation, but only for a moment. An enemy unfamiliar with the strength and resilience of the American people mistakenly thought they could frighten and cripple us as a nation.
Their assumptions and misunderstandings of who we are and what we stand for immediately became apparent to them and to the rest of the world.
Out of the chaos of that day came order and a clear sense of what we needed to do. Out of the confusion of that day came a new solidarity: a strength of purpose and a clear and united resolve – not in the name of vengeance alone, but more importantly, in the name of justice. We looked closer at ourselves on Sept. 11 and in the days that followed.
The smoke and dust of the ruined twin towers failed to cast a shadow over the extreme acts of courage and valor displayed by hundreds of police, firefighters, emergency medical personnel and others during the frightful morning of Sept. 11. We now understand that heroes surround us on a daily basis.
Everyday heroes, ordinary men and women made extraordinary by their professionalism and their willingness to serve and protect… and who go beyond the boundaries of duty.
When American Airlines Flight #77 tore through the walls of the Pentagon, it was selfless government and civilian workers who put their lives at risk to save fellow employees and comrades.
And passengers aboard United Flight #93 showed valor beyond words when, after realizing terrorists had taken control of their aircraft and were targeting the nation’s capital with cruel intent, took action that perhaps saved thousands of lives… at cost of their own.
The truth of that day reaffirmed what we already knew; that evil will always be countered by good. That violence is not strength and compassion is not the enemy.
Through all of this, what has become evident is the rekindling of the American spirit and new awareness and deeper appreciation of what our nation stands for.
As we reflect on those whose lives were cut short as a result of the attack on America, we can take solace in knowing that their memory has served to inspire a greater enthusiasm for service. The best way for us to honor their memory is to recommit ourselves to our families, our communities and to our country. We can do this through our local community service projects.
The Columbus Post #9116 and Ladies Auxiliary give a salute to all our Polk emergency personnel and thank them for what they do for us.
President George W. Bush designated Sept. 11 as “Patriot Day.” As we take a moment for silence in memory of those whose lives we lost, let us each be determined to do more in their name to make the United States an even greater nation than ever. Remember we have boys and girls, men and women giving their lives overseas as we speak.  We have not forgotten 9-11-01.
God bless America and our troops.
The Polk County Memorial V.F.W. Post and Ladies Auxiliary #9116 ask all our Polk County School students, along with everyone else, to take a moment of silence in memory of this tragic day in our history.
– Joyce B. Preston

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