Sunday, September 11, 2011

More thoughts on the day

I've been spending the day like many of you probably have - quietly reading articles and blog posts online and watching the news coverage. As I posted earlier this morning, it seems surreal that it's been a decade since that awful day that changed America forever.

I thought I'd share with you some of what I've been reading and watching today:

Video of Congressman Allen West addressing the St. Paul Lutheran Remembrance BBQ earlier today in Boca Raton (hat tip: The Shark Tank):

America is not a geographic location, America is an ideal that exists with the hearts and minds of each and every one of us. 
- Congressman Allen West, September 11, 2011
Amazingly touching Budweiser commercial in tribute to the victims of that day (if I remember correctly, this only ran once, during the Super Bowl the following January):

YouTube | Budweiser 9/11 commercial

Excerpts from an email written by Christian Waugh, the President of my Young Republicans club:
Good afternoon Orange County Young Republicans, 
 As the President of a county YR chapter, I usually shy away from commenting on major events and memorials. When everyone else is doing so, there is little need for me to enter the market of public addresses that, unfortunately, often border on soliloquies. So I hope you will forgive me this one trespass. 
 While taking the time to spend a little time reflecting on that day that changed the course of our country forever, I've been reading a lot this morning from our members and our other friends on facebook, twitter, and blogs. Without exception, we, all of us, remember where we were on 9/11/01. The stories begin with a diversity of origins: some of us were in middle school or high school class already, when a teacher received a call and put a television on, only for children to watch the second plane strike. Many were college students on the way to a class or sleeping in as college kids are wont to do, who receive a cell phone call that forces them to find a television. And some of us were at work, at the beach, or making breakfast for family members. 
 As I said, our 9/11 narrative begins with diversity, but it ends with unity. 
 That's because no one, in the end, experienced 9/11 alone. Ten years later, we still feel the need for catharsis - a need that brings us as close together today as we were then...we found our common ground in the ultimately shared experiment in democracy and liberty that is the United States of America. The experiment is risky. It is an experiment that, as President Reagan said, is a process of exploration and discovery, taking a chance and expanding horizons, all this because the future does not belong to the fainthearted, it belongs to the brave. Fittingly, whereas on 9/11/01, we gathered to share grief and shock, today we gather and pay respect to the extraordinary honor, bravery, and courage of everyone near Ground Zero, the Pentagon, and Flight 93.
 On that day, when thousands of Americans woke up thinking it would be a day like any other - yet perished - we remember that every day is an opportunity and a blessing from God. Because, yes, ten years later, 9/11/11 is cause to reflect and to remember, but it is the American way to not be possessed by this past - rather, we are possessed by the future. You know they say that there are only two constants in the universe: death and taxes. But perhaps there is now a third...namely, that we will NEVER forget. And so we honor the brave and innocent who died that day - who've died in the War that began that day - and rededicate ourselves to remembering the past, but also always striving toward our future...
"If I should die and leave you here a while,
be not like others sore undone,
who keep long vigil by the silent dust.
For my sake turn again to life and smile,
nerving thy heart and trembling hand
to do something to comfort other hearts than thine.
Complete these dear unfinished tasks of mine
and I perchance may therein comfort you." ~Mary Lee Hall 
And so here is my request to you, the members and friends of members in the Orange County Young Republicans: Please bring supplies for our troops to our next meeting, this Tuesday @ 630 pm (doors open at 6) 301 E. Pine St, 14th floor, Orlando, FL. we would very much appreciate you looking at this link for an idea of what types of stuff we have sent. We've sent a solid 15 lbs or so of snacks, hygiene items, and the like already through some solid partners. 
 I hope you have a pleasant day -- see you Tuesday. 
 In Liberty,
Christian W. Waugh
President, Orange County Young Republicans
Another fellow Florida Young Republican, Bryan Tupper, visited the World Trade Center shortly before the Towers would disappear from the New York City skyline forever. Here are some of his now-haunting photos from that trip, reprinted here with Bryan's permission (along with his captions from Facebook):

"My fav. picture I took of the WTC. I literally laid on my back & aimed the camera upward. Little did I know 72 days later it was going to be ground zero." - Bryan Tupper
"Awesome photo of WTC taken from atop the Empire State Building on July 4th, 2001." - Bryan Tupper
"Picture of a plane from atop the WTC. In retrospect this was eerie." - Bryan Tupper
Here is a powerful report from the only American to view the terrorist attacks from space, Frank Culberson, who was on the International Space Station at the time:

View of NYC as the International Space Station flew overhead:

Image credit: NASA

God Bless America.

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