If we lose freedom here, there is no place to escape to. This is the last stand on earth – Ronald Reagan
We said we will never forget. We said we would never turn a blind-eye to what should have been an ordinary day in September. That day directly changed the lives of thousands of people in our nation. That day indirectly changed us all, and life has never really been the same.
My three sons were young on that dreadful day 19-years ago. I recently realized that they have never known life without the threat of terrorism because in that moment, on that fateful day, innocence was forever lost.
My oldest was just 7 and like me, he remembers in clarity everything as if it were yesterday. He saw the images on television, and he saw the raw emotions of fear, rage, and sadness on our faces. He saw the panic and outrage on people. And at that young and precious age, he concluded on his own, that his life would be in stark contrast to how his parents grew-up.
We said we’d never forget, and we meant just that, we would never forget.
September 12, 2001 was the real awakening to what had actually occurred because we realized, the nightmare that happened the day before wasn’t a bad dream, it was our reality. The toppled buildings, fires, endless piles of debris and dirt that buried so many also was the beginning of our freedom being buried as we embraced the threat of terrorism all around us.
People flooded to churches looking for answers to the never-ending questions. Pastors grappled with explaining how and why this had happened. People were soul-searching and coming to Jesus in a time of revival borne out of the most chaotic and brutal attack on our soil. The church was exploding with new found followers. God always weaves goodness into pain.
We said we’d never forget. In fact, we stood hand-in-hand, arm-and-arm brothers and sisters of all colors, ethnicities, political affiliations, and genders, and proclaimed that we were in it together and would fight for liberty, freedom, and justice for our nation. We were unified and bold with a righteous anger and pride for our beloved America her patriots. We marched. We prayed. We sang. We cried. We buried and we rebuilt, one nation, the United States of America, and through it all, we prevailed.
We said we’d never forget. How could we? It was being written into our history books and we were being flooded with documentaries, movies, articles and interviews of varying perspectives of that horrific day. 9/11 became a part of our personal history and our nation’s history, so we couldn’t forget. We would never forget.
But life went on, terrorism became an ongoing threat not only from the outside, but from within. We got comfortable and fell back into complacent patterns and lifestyles. We indulged, took freedom for granted, and somehow, over time, we forgot.
We forgot what it means to be a nation. We forgot what those nations around us are like. We have forgotten what it looks like when we come together with a united purpose for liberty, and justice for all. We have forgotten how truly blessed we are to be a part of this great nation. And no, we haven’t been a perfect nation, there is no such thing. But I do know this, America was founded with the idea of complete freedom. Yes, it did take decades and generations to establish that freedom, and we have a long way to go, but what other nation has progressed from an oppressed people to the white house?
Maybe we have forgot because 9/11 and terrorism aren’t the relevant threats to our nation anymore. No, our threat seems to be coming from those very same people we linked arms with, prayed with, cried with, and persevered with some 19 years ago.
But I won’t forget. I can’t forget the day where freedom still meant something. I can’t forget the day where we united under the most horrible circumstances and then stood proud. I can’t forget the day that I explained to my boys that freedom is worth fighting for and living in this nation is a blessing to never forsake.
Today I look back at 9/11 with a bit more sadness than years past because my heart is breaking as I watch its own destroy its own as we seem to be imploding, and divided by every way possible.
But I still believe in the faithful warriors of this great nation who 19-years ago determined to rebuild, and fight for our country. I believe in the young warriors that were awakened to terrorism and resolved to standup against the enemy, even if the enemy is within.
True Americans and followers of Jesus, we got grit. We got heart. We are the patriotic few who love this country and will fight hard for our freedoms. We are the true Americans and we aren’t going down that easily, we will fight. We are the true Americans and we will, never, ever forget.