IC Remarks on Anniversary of 9/11 Attacks
11 September 2009
Good morning -
Most of you know, I always like to share inspiration and remembrance on this day... a day that always reminds me that freedom is DEFINITELY not free... and we were all told the stories and learned the tales in grade school about how many fought and died for such a principle. But to a kid in a classroom, those are just words on a sheet of paper, or another lesson taught by the teacher about the history of our respective nations.
As we've all grown and learned what the price of freedom of ourselves and our respective homelands cost... we've learned more and more. First, we saw our fathers and brothers enter the military, gone for months at a time -- if lucky, during a time of peace, all coming home safely. Other times, they would be called upon by their nation to take up arms in defense of their countrymen. Among the bravest stepped forward to say "I'll go," even when the wars were already years-long, and so many had already been lost.
It's easy to forget the cost of freedom when those who protect and watch over us do so from far away... the perfect example of what can easily become "out of sight, out of mind" in our daily grind of working, cooking and doing in the days of our lives. But it's not only those who fight for us that are our heroes. It's the mother that looks at the empty place at the table; it's the father that sends the little extra he has to his son overseas so he can have a little bit more to spend, it's the little sister that no longer has the older brother at home to ask questions...
In 1983, a young man made the choice to answer the call to service in what is arguably the highest vocation - the armed forces. He entered the US Navy's Delayed Entry Program and chose the life of a career sailor. My friend, Yeoman Gary Davis knew every day when he put his uniform on, that he was doing his part -- raising and protecting a family, while protecting America... Nine years before that, another young US Navy sailor was sewing on his new rating patch, that of a hospital corpsman. Corpsman Rob Johnson assigned to the First Marine Division at Camp Pendleton knew every day that putting on his uniform - he was answering his nation's call to service - his dedicated wife, Kim - a Navy nurse, beside him and answering the same call. As a field medic and an emergency medical technician, he knew all too well the physical danger of serving in the military - even during peace time. He still did his part. There are so many more among us, but these three examples are just a tip of the corner of the iceberg of those who have, and indeed, continue to defend their homeland - people such as Cary Griffin, Larry French, Duncan Robinson, Mark and Aimee Zesewitz; last and most certainly not least, the many others amongst us who've put on a uniform to defend their home nation.
...and it's the family of those lost in attacks upon the very soul of the ideals of freedom, justice and liberty. Those who place a flag on Memorial Day or today, the anniversary where freedom itself was under attack by those who dared attack the very core democratic values that we, the free world; hold so dear.
I conclude my message this morning with a poem I share every year on this special, somber day - that I think is the most appropriate piece of historical work that fits today most appropriately -- and I ask that you please be mindful of those who can't be here today - either because of work, deployment - or because they line the streets of heaven, waiting for us to join them.
Remember me when I am gone away,
Gone far away into the silent land;
When you can no more hold me by the hand,
Nor I half turn to go, yet turning stay.
Remember me when no more day by day
You tell me of our future that you plann'd:
Only remember me; you understand
It will be late to counsel then or pray.
Yet if you should forget me for a while
And afterwards remember, do not grieve:
For if the darkness and corruption leave
A vestige of the thoughts that once I had,
Better by far you should forget and smile
Than that you should remember and be sad.