Do you remember the day before September 11, 2001? We were all engrossed in our own lives, fighting against our own windmills. We spent our day thinking about careers or money or sports. Travelers packed their suitcases for early morning flights. Pentagon and World Trade Center professionals got to bed early.
Two cryptic messages in a foreign language were also transmitted that day: “The match is about to begin,” and, “Tomorrow is zero hour.” (Plan of Attack by Woodward)
The next day it all changed.
The next day the petty problems of before didn’t seem so important. The next day each of our lives became inexorably entwined. Strangers were no longer strangers. Cooperation came easy and we found comfort in numbers.
Our horrors of September 11th swiftly changed to resolve and a commitment to bring pain to whoever did this to us. We were wounded, but not mortally so, and we readied for the fight.
Since that peaceful day on September 10th, a whole generation of Americans has woken up to the fact that we live in a dangerous world. But on introspection, we know the world has always been dangerous, and ruthless people have killed innocent ones as long as man has existed.
We need protectors. We have always needed protectors. Most of the people reading this have had a hand in protecting the rest of us – either in uniform or supporting those who wear the cloth of the nation. You are the ones to whom we owe our freedom, and to whom we owe our gratitude. Peaceful days will come again, but only because you are there, on watch, on patrol, and on guard.
You are our heroes.