Friday, September 11, 2020

Patriot Day


Year 8-Day 255: Today, I am grateful for Patriot Day.

Freedom isn't free. Evil is real. Hope floats. Love wins.Simple truths. 

Today, we remember the attacks of September 11, 2001.  19 years ago today, American experienced a terrorist attack in our air space and on American soil by the Islamic terrorist group, al-Qaeda. It changed how we live as Americans. It did not change what it means to be an American. The best of us shined on that day. 

Firefighters and police officers ran into burning buildings while everyone else was running out in terror. Off-duty firefighters and police officers flooded toward the scene, grabbing any available equipment...some leaving wallets and notes to loved ones on the firehouse desk, just in case they didn’t come out. Some didn’t. They knew the potential, the risks and the cost… but something was more important than their fear. 

“Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear.” This quote was hard to verify and credit, but the truth rings loud and clear. 

On that day, there were heroes… in the towers, on the planes, in the Pentagon and on the streets. At every crossroad in these United States, we grieved together and privately. 

Today, we remember with gratitude… those who ran in… those who rescued… those who gave their lives... and those still serving under this star spangled banner. ( Cousins James and David Maisonneuve... you are always in my prayers.Our family is proud of your service.)

When terror struck, we were able to pray together as a nation. Our houses of worship were not all the same, but we were united in prayer. We wore t-shirts and hats that said NYPD and NYFD because we wanted them to know we cared about their service and sacrifice.There was a feeling of unity that helped us survive. Together, we would help each other through the hard days, weeks and months. 

This scriptures tell us God does not change. There are prophecies from the Old Testament that are relevant for these days, too. 

“Yet even now,” declares the Lord,  “return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; and rend your hearts and not your garments.” Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love; and he relents over disaster." -Joel 2:12-13

"Return to me with all of your heart." Not just a piece of it... or when you need some God glue to fix what we carelessly allowed to be broken. He is patient. He knows our thoughts and our hearts. His love knows no limits; His justice must be satisfied. He does not abandon his children. 

I remember the stories of the ways God intervened with many who should have filled the towers that day. They were late to work, taking children to preschool, at the dentist, missed a train, were stuck in traffic or missed a flight. I imagine an army of unseen angels causing delays everywhere terror was about to strike. There were unseen forces at work. 

I am humbled by the heroes like Todd Beamer who was on the flight over Pennsylvania. He was salt and light... even as he faced death. (His story is told the book, "Let's Roll".) Evil has some victories, but the war isn't over. When it is, evil will not be the winner. Here is Todd's story:

America is far from perfect, but talk to the people who have moved here from other places. They do not take freedom for granted. I get to lead "The Pledge" every morning with a friend who was not born a citizen. She worked hard to meet the requirements and I must confess, I get a little choked up when I watch her saying the pledge. It means something to her that I don't understand as one who was born here. I am humbled by her passion for this country... her country... our country. Seeing her humility, passion and gratitude inspire me to appreciate more the gift I was given by birth. She is my sister in faith and under the stars and stripes. She is my friend by choice and relationship.  

United States of America... it is a land of many colors, races, ideas, houses of worship, opinions, talents and so much more. The tapestry of our land is woven with many unique threads. We are better collectively. 

Today, I am grateful for Patriot Day.

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