Two-hundred and thirty six years ago, when our country was founded, most of the people in the known world laughed at the idea of farmers, peasants, and volunteer militia armed with pitchforks and a few rifles attempting to overturn what was, at the time, the most powerful nation in the world with the most powerful military in the world. Yet, through skill, tenacity, dedication, and yes, luck, our forefathers were able to create a new country for us. They pledged their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor to this belief. To this day, we are the recipients of that trust. Sitting here today, would you pledge your life? Your fortune? Your honor to such a revolutionary thought? Even to this day, the magnitude of what they risked and were willing to sacrifice for freedom is daunting and humbling.
Then, as if being brave enough to stare down the largest military of the time wasn’t enough, they set ink to paper and declared that all men were created equal. Granted it took some time for all men, and all women, to be equal, but they dared to think and to put into words a truly revolutionary idea. These men were some of the greatest that generation had to offer. They were brave, daring, and dedicated. They left us a legacy to continue, to improve and, when the time is right, to hand to our children for their safekeeping.
We are all part of a brave and bold nation. We are a nation of dreamers and thinkers, of doers and writers, of courage and giving. We have a proud legacy. Our forefathers fought, bled and died so that we could have the freedom we are enjoying right now. The freedom to gather and congregate, the freedom to worship as we will, the freedom to be who we were born to be. This freedom was not earned lightly and is not kept with ease. To this day, men and women stand tall in all the dark places of the world to protect us from those who would do us harm, those who are scared by what our country represents and those who know what we as a people are capable of.
In my life I have traveled often. I travel to many places in this beautiful country of ours, and I have met many people. One thing that I have learned in my travels is that we all bear the responsibility left to us by our forefathers to leave the world better for future generations and we all do our part in varying ways. Some wear camo, some wear scrubs, some teach, some build, some write, some nurture, some pray, some protect, some save lives, and some give theirs. We all serve this great nation of ours and we all serve to safeguard our future.
We all have volunteered to serve in our own way, and as the world learns time and time again, and was reminded on that fateful Tuesday, September 11’th, there is nothing stronger than the heart of a volunteer. Instead of running out, volunteers ran in. Instead of being victims, volunteers stood up and said, “let’s roll”. Instead of staying home with family, volunteers overwhelmed hospitals wanting to donate blood. Instead of giving up, volunteers stood up and said, “I will go. I will take the fight to our enemy”. We are a nation of volunteers. We are the people who run in when everyone else runs out. We are a nation of brave souls that continues to stand and say, “I will go”.
Eleven years ago, terrorists attacked our country. So many lives were lost; so many more were forever changed. Symbols of America’s strength and future were attacked. As we go forward, let us not forget the helplessness we felt when the towers fell. Let us not forget the despair we felt as the Pentagon, a symbol to the world of our military might, burned. Let us remember the field that became a silent memorial to those brave souls who refused to be victims. Let us remember that even though we were struck down that day, we as a country, dusted ourselves off, stood back up, looked the enemy in the eye and proved that we have our forefather’s bravery and spirit. We will never forget that day. God Bless America.
Until We Meet Again,