What do you remember? It’s such simple things we remember from childhood – a toy, a family vacation, the first day of school – these often bring a smile, a laugh, or even a tear to our eye when they are occasionally brought to mind. Other memories are so indelibly etched into our memories that we recall details in such a way as to defy explanation. We remember where we were, who was there, what was said…We remember the sights, the sounds, the smells…We remember how we felt: the pain, the anguish, the anger.
How often have we heard from someone who personally remembers exactly where they were, what they were doing, how they heard the news, on December 7, 1941?
Or for the next generation when they received the news on November 22, 1963 of the assassination of President Kennedy?
Or even for my generation on January 28, 1986 when we learned of the Space Shuttle Challenger exploding only 73 seconds into its flight.
When these things come to mind we are awash in memories of the pain over the loss of someone we never even knew. We feel the anguish of the families who lost their loved ones because we all know that pain. Or we experience resentment and rage toward those who would dare to perpetrate such evil against our own people, or against our nation within our own borders.
These events are decades apart yet seem to transcend time. They occurred on the sea, on land, and in the air, yet they transcend space. They are national in scope and they stab at the very heart and soul of our patriotism. Unlike any other events they have etched themselves into our American psyche.
Until September 11, 2001.
Who doesn’t remember in vivid detail the events of that morning or where they were when they heard the news? Perhaps you happened to simply turn on the television that morning and were immediately plunged into the middle of the events without warning. Perhaps you received a phone call from someone who implored you to get to the nearest television but couldn’t quite bring themselves to explain why.
Perhaps you were there.
When we see the images from that day played over and over on the news what emotions does it evoke in you? What memories does it bring to the surface? What do you remember?
Do you remember the 40 passengers and crew of United 93 that crashed in a field outside of Shanksville, PA?
Or the 59 on American 77 that crashed into the Pentagon killing all on board plus the 125 civilians and military personnel in the building?
Or the 60 on United 175?
Or the 87 on American 11?
I choose to remember them.
I remember the 2,606 who perished in the towers and on the ground in New York.
While it may serve to salve our consciences to fondly remember those innocent victims and the heroic emergency workers who died that day it is also important to remember something else.
I remember that there were 19 others in those planes that brought this about. I remember that the masterminds behind it had tucked themselves away in their rat holes like the cowards they were.
I remember that they were not freedom fighters and they were not an oppressed people seeking relief from their oppressors.
I remember them for the cowards, murderers and terrorists that they were.
I remember that they did it in the name of their religion and in the name their god.
I remember that no amount of appeasement or overtures of peace toward them ever assuaged their hatred for us.
I remember that they hate this country and everything for which it stands.
I remember that they hate our freedom. They hate our ethic. They hate our God.
I remember that they hate the very foundations upon which this country was founded: the principles of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness; our representative government; our freedom of speech, religion, press, assembly; our right to keep and bear arms – to defend ourselves.
I remember all of it. I choose to remember all of it.
And along with that I remember that all the things they hate about us are the very things in this country that are worth living, fighting and dying for.
I remember that there are those who continue today to put themselves in harm’s way on the other side of the globe to keep us safe.
I remember that in the last 10 years there have been over 6,000 who have given their lives in that effort to preserve our freedom, our lives, and our liberty.
I remember the victims, the rescue workers, the soldiers, and yes, the murderers and cowards who brought this to our shores.
I remember that we are Americans and that we are free.
I remember that here we have an ideal worth fighting for…and dying for.
Sen. Kevin Grantham
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As your Senator from District 2, I will seek to advocate for legislation that will preserve, promote, and advance the cause of: