As we approach the 10th anniversary of September 11, 2001 I look back on that day and remember the things that I saw and what I felt. I often work late, sometimes into the early hours of the morning, so I'm not an early riser and neither was my late wife Kay. However, we were awakened by the sound of the phone ringing, and by the time I got up there was a message light and I saw that it was my oldest daughter who had called and left a message that said simply turn on the television. I immediately did so and saw the images of one of the twin towers in New York City in flames.
I don't even remember which network I was watching, but I remember listening to the commentary about a plane crashing into the tower. Then suddenly, I watched in horror as the second plane crashed into the other tower, and I knew instantly that this was no accident, but that my beloved United States of America was under attack once again. I stayed glued to the television set for virtually the next 24 hours as the tragedy continued to unfold. I alternated between tears for those who I knew we had lost, and anger against the then unknown assailants who had attacked us.
In the days that followed the attackers became known and I knew that we were now at war. I was comforted by the fact that my great country had come together. It seemed that every car, home, and apartment displayed the American flag or some other symbol of patriotism. Both my youngest and oldest sons were in the National Guard and had been called to active duty. I called Army personnel headquarters and volunteered to go back on active duty myself. This was difficult because my wife had been disabled by a stroke, but she fully supported what I was doing and why.
The Army thanked me for volunteering, but I was never called up since as always this was going to be a war fought by mostly young Americans. I clearly remember the day when we invaded Afghanistan to topple the Taliban that had provided Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda with safe haven to prepare to attack us. Even more, I remember saying goodbye to my oldest son Sean as he was deployed overseas and to my youngest son Tim as he was sent to Guantánamo Bay to guard the terrorists that were being captured.
Now, 10 years later, Sean has done two tours of duty in Iraq, two others in Afghanistan for a total of 4 years of his life in combat. Now, he's back in Afghanistan again and Tim, who is now a Black Hawk helicopter pilot, is preparing to deploy to Iraq or Afghanistan. The Connelly family remains totally committed to the fight for our freedom as do many other families. However, for others it is not the case.
I remember one pundit commenting not long after 9/11 that while our military was going to war, the rest of America was going to the mall. Unfortunately that seems to be true. Our enemies are still out there, and they still want to destroy us, but many Americans seem to have lost the will to fight our enemies both abroad and at home.
I recall a few days after 9/11 going to the store for groceries and then sitting in traffic at a stoplight in Dallas. My car window was down and the woman next to me had her radio on and the song being played was Lee Greenwood's God Bless the USA. She turned the volume of her radio all the way up so that everyone could hear the song and even when the light turned green nobody moved until the song was over. I think every driver that day drove off with tears in their eyes as we thought about our country and its greatness.
Unfortunately, as we approach September 11, 2011 we are no longer a united country. We appear to have lost our moral compass. Many Americans no longer seem to believe in or even understand the basic facts that have made America the greatest free nation in the world. The people who seek to destroy us are still out there, yet it has become politically incorrect to refer to them by name. In the meantime, our main enemy seems to be within.
The true strength of America has always been our constitutional form of government that protects our individual liberties and our free enterprise economic system. Now both of these are under attack not only from radical Islam but also from people within our own country. Politicians and members of the so-called mainstream news media are routinely calling for us to ignore our Constitution or abolish it altogether so that we can become more like the socialist countries in Europe and other parts of the world where freedom is limited.
In the days after 9/11, millions of Americans turned to our churches and synagogues to reaffirm our faith and our religious beliefs and to ask for solace and guidance. Now, 10 years later the mayor of New York City has prohibited any members of the clergy from participating in the Memorial service for those lost on 9/11. At the same time an atheist group is trying to prohibit a cross from being placed on the site of the 9/11 Memorial. At the national cemetery in Houston, Texas the families of military veterans and those who are currently dying in Afghanistan or Iraq are being denied the right to have religious ceremonies when they bury their dead
I, for one, have had it. I will not forget what happened on 9/11 and I will not forget who the enemies are that caused it to happen. Nor will I forgive. I will also not forgive those in our own country who would destroy our legacy, take away our freedoms, and trash our Constitution. Even if I have to stand alone with just my sons and daughters by my side, we will not give up. The Connelly family is in this fight to the end.
Of course, I know that we are not alone. There are 25 million military veterans in this country and their families, as well as many others who believe in this nation and its founding principles. This includes the obligation that those of us in the military took to defend our Constitution against all enemies both foreign and domestic. So regardless of what is politically correct, on September 11, 2011, I will silently bow my head and reaffirm that oath, and I will say a prayer to the God that I believe in to assist me in the struggle to preserve the United States of America. I encourage my fellow Americans to do the same.
As for those of you who would destroy us, be aware that we are your worst nightmare.
God bless America!