I was a senior in high school eight years ago when I turned on the TV and witnessed the terrorist attack on American soil.
That morning, I had woken up early and turned on the television; this was a bit uncommon for me. On the screen, billows of greasy smoke poured from the first World Trade Center building. Shortly thereafter, smoke billowed from the second one too.
If there is ever something that touches the cords of my humanity, it is the death of innocent lives. Even though eight years have passed, I pray to God that I never forget or become dulled by passing time.
In its aftermath, America managed to project a clarion call: attacking freedom will not go unanswered.
Below is an exert from President Bush’s speech to Congress; it acknowledges that while grief will subside, America’s fight for freedom and justice will continue.
It is my hope that in the months and years ahead life will return almost to normal. We’ll go back to our lives and routines and that is good.
Even grief recedes with time and grace.
But our resolve must not pass. Each of us will remember what happened that day and to whom it happened. We will remember the moment the news came, where we were and what we were doing.
Some will remember an image of a fire or story or rescue. Some will carry memories of a face and a voice gone forever.
And I will carry this. It is the police shield of a man named George Howard who died at the World Trade Center trying to save others.
It was given to me by his mom, Arlene, as a proud memorial to her son. It is my reminder of lives that ended and a task that does not end.
I will not forget the wound to our country and those who inflicted it. I will not yield, I will not rest, I will not relent in waging this struggle for freedom and security for the American people. The course of this conflict is not known, yet its outcome is certain. Freedom and fear, justice and cruelty, have always been at war, and we know that God is not neutral between them.
God Bless America.