Non incautus futuri

A Washington & Lee junior and Marine Officer Candidate in Spain

Ten Years

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NOTE: This post is a bit heavier than anything I’ve written thus far on the blog. It isn’t about how much fun I’m having abroad, or how much I’m learning. I’m writing about 9/11.

Ten years ago, a small group of determined and motivated fanatics fired the opening salvo in their war against America and our liberal institutions. They did this by hijacking four civilian airliners and crashing them — and their human cargoes — into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and (by the grace of God and the valor of the passengers of United Flight 93) a Pennsylvania field. Just like that, everything changed. Just like that, we were at war.

I was in the fifth grade on the morning of September 11th, 2001, but I can recall exactly what happened that day. We were in class, just starting our day in a Long Island elementary school, when a boy named Daniel Fourman came in late. A helicopter had crashed into the World Trade Center, he said. We shrugged it off. A tragic accident, surely. Hopefully the building wasn’t damaged. A half hour later, the principal told us what had happened on the PA system. Shortly after that, the parents started arriving in droves.

9/11 was a tragedy, but in the wake of its horror came hope and determination. Long Island has never had the reputation of being a very genteel place, and its people aren’t really known for being soft-spoken or courteous. But something changed, at least for a while, after 9/11. People were kinder. They talked to strangers. You could drive around a whole neighborhood and see a flag on every garage door. Uniformed cops and firefighters couldn’t walk into a pizza parlor or a bar without someone paying their tab.

The aftermath of 9/11 also produced great Americans. For them, “a plastic flag in the car window was not their response to the murderous assault on our country.”* No — instead, they loaded themselves into the breech and went to war. Someday, I may have the honor of joining them.

It’s a little hard being so far from my country on this momentous anniversary. There is a surprising amount of coverage of “11-S” (once-ese) on Spanish TV, but I would give a whole lot to be back home for a little bit. I’d like to go to a candlelight service. I’d like to see an American flag. I’d like to be in uniform on Brown Field. I’d like to be with my family.

Since I’m in Spain, I’ll have to settle for finding a church or some other quiet place to pray. I want to ask for the courage to honor the victims of 9/11. And I want to pray for the strength to avenge them.

* This is borrowed from a Veterans’ Day speech by Lt. Gen. John F. Kelly, USMC. It’s worth reading: Honor and Sacrifice

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Written by Lee

September 11, 2011 at 03:41

Posted in Marine Corps

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