Ten years ago our country experienced an event so tragic from which we are still reeling. All the economic hardships, political drama, wars overseas that have followed are all centered on this one event. It changed the face of the United States forever.
I can remember, just as most people can, exactly what I was doing that day. My friend, Matt, and I had decided to go for an early morning run. While we were running he told me about it and I remember saying, "That's not good." After our run we went to the cafeteria near our dorms and the news was on the big-screen television. I remember watching as the second plane flew into the other tower and then the tumbling of the buildings later. I didn't know what the consequences of this was going to be, but I do remember the huge outpouring of patriotism and unity that it created in this country.
One thing I hate to see is the "Never Forget" stickers. How can you forget such a momentous and horrific event as this? The planes crashing into the towers tends to overshadow what happened at the Pentagon as well. The whole idea of the "Never Forget" stickers make me mad because we shouldn't even need them to remind ourselves of it. In fact, we shouldn't even need a terrorist act such as this to make us feel patriotic. Our country is unique in our freedoms. We have things no other country has, and we take them all for granted. Does our economy suck right now? Yes. Do our politicians not really give us any hope for a brighter future? In my opinion, they don't. Others may disagree. This blog is not meant to be a political stance, so I will just leave it at that. The way I see it, we just don't have enough patriotism in the United States anymore. It's as if we've forgotten what it means to be patriotic.
To be a patriot you are "a person who loves, supports, and defends his or her country and its interests with devotion," someone who "regards himself or herself as a defender, especially of individual rights, against presumed interference by the federal government (dictionary.reference.com)."
Where I work, people are constantly buying books about the end of days and signs of the times. They read these books, come back and tell us all about how the country is going to go to pot and there's nothing we can do about it. There's a defeatist attitude in the country these days and it really bugs me. What we need is action. This nation is built upon the strength of the individual. We've come to rely too heavily on the government to pull us through when the United States was never meant to be fully led by the government. Our political leaders are merely our representatives and our voices. What we need is to find the leaders that best represent our voice as a whole.
This is partially why I've joined the Navy. To be a part of something bigger than myself. People shake their heads at me because this is a scary time to be signing in to the military. What with the government heading for collapse and the world on the verge of a full-blown war. I've always felt that I would be a part of it. I don't know why. Don't get me wrong, I'm not looking forward to being in any form of battle, but it is my duty as a citizen of this great country to defend the freedoms I love.
I've sort of gone on a tangent. I can remember the explosion of patriotism that followed September 11, 2001 and I want that feeling back. It really didn't last long. My friends at college and I went to donate blood right after the attacks and we were turned away because there were so many people volunteering to give blood. Now you can't twist anyone's arm, hardly, to donate blood. We sit back and wait for something else to happen. We're so worried that another terrorist attack will happen. By doing this, the terrorists win. They get what they want because they want us to be scared and acting like injured puppies. I say it's time we start acting like the proud wolves that we are. Start standing up for our freedoms. Give the politicians something else to fear: people with guts enough to say NO MORE!
Thank you to all the firefighters, police officers, and military men and women who serve and have served our country. You're amazing and words cannot express how proud I am of you. To all those who died and who lost loved ones in the senseless, brutal terrorist attacks of September 11 I honor you and love you.
To you, reader, whoever you are, I'm just a young guy in a little town in Idaho, and I know you have your own opinions about what I've said in this post, but I'm hoping that my words will influence you to at least take inventory of your own patriotism. Where do you rate yourself? Are you willing to take a stand? Are you willing to take some action to keep the freedoms you love?
Jake Taylor graduated from Brigham Young University-Idaho with a Bachelor of Arts degree in professional writing. He is the author of The Tales of the Unluckiest Lucky Girl series. He is also an avid reader, traveler, movie-watcher, and music lover. He currently serves in the US Navy and is stationed in San Diego, CA.