Friday, September 11, 2009

Spirit of America

This article was posted 9/2001 shortly after September 11th happened. I was very moved by this article. In fact, 8 years later, I still have a copy of this article. It may bring back hurt, it may bring back memories, but the Spirit of America is still alive and strong. I always feel a great sense of pride when I see a flag.

We live in a country that is free and we are only free because every day people risk their lives to keep our freedom. So, I thank you. I thank you if you have ever served in our Armed Forces. I thank you to those who are policemen or firemen. I thank you if you work in the medical field. I thank you if you have a family member serving or has served. I thank those who took the biggest risk of all and lost their lives in the line of duty.

8 years later, the memory of that day still lives on. We will never forget.
The Spirit of America
By: Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun Times
  • I am the spirit of America.
  • I am the Stars and Stripes waving proudly from homes, schools, office buildings and government centers.
  • I am New York City Fire Chief Peter J. Ganci Jr., Deputy Fire Commissioner William Feehan, Second-in-Command Tom Von Essen and Rev. Mychal Judge.
  • I am the hundreds of yet-unnamed firefighters, police officers and Port Authority officers who are missing and will not be found.
  • I am the men and women who knew they were going to die and thus jumped,choosing to have some measure of control over the last breath of their lives.
  • I am the thousands of volunteers who have rolled up their sleeves and donned surgical masks to aid the workers digging through the incomprehensible rubble and debris in lower Manhattan.
  • I am Michael Benfante, 22, and John Cerqueria, 36, who carried a disabled woman down 68 floors of a World Trade Center stairwell and placed the woman in an emergency van.
  • I am the passengers aboard United Airlines Flight 93 who fought with their hijackers and brought down the plane outside Pittsburgh, 250 miles from its intended target in Washington, DC.
  • I am the dozens of passengers aboard the other hijacked planes who called loved ones to say goodbye, or tried to alert authorities.
  • I am President George W. Bush, doing and saying the right things in the face of an unprecedented national tragedy.
  • I am former President Bill Clinton and former Vice President Al Gore,voicing unconditional support for the President.
  • I am the members of Congress, standing united on the steps of the U.S. Capitol and spontaneously breaking into God Bless America.
  • I am New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, wearing a cap and sweat shirt emblazoned with the logo of the New York City Fire Department, standing strong, calm and forceful while addressing the city.
  • I am the loved ones who are holding up photos on television, pasting leaflets on the side of TV news vans, and keeping vigil in the faint hopes that their mother, their father, their child, will be found.
  • I am the crowds lining the streets of lower Manhattan, cheering the rescue workers and truck drivers and technicians heading to the disaster site.
  • I am the nurses and doctors who have come to New York City to help.
  • I am the millions of Americans who have reached out to friends with e-mails and phone calls to say, "I hope you’re all right, and I hope you didn’t lose anyone close to you. And if I haven’t said it lately, I love you."
  • I am the thousands upon thousands of Americans in Los Angeles and Denver and Phoenix and Detroit and Philadelphia who have lined up to donate blood.
  • I am the electric ribbon of red, white, and blue rimming the top of the John Hancock Center on a September night.
  • I am the New Yorkers who have laid flowers and hand-scribbled words of mourning at the site of the disaster.
  • I am the construction workers who fashioned stretchers from materials at their nearby work sites and joined the firefighters and the police in rescue efforts.
  • I am the Chicago-area firefighters who rode in a caravan of recreational vehicles and sport utility vehicles to New York to offer assistance to their colleagues.
  • I am the people gathered at Riverfront Park in Spokane, Washington, singing Amazing Grace.
  • I am the business professionals who have donated coffee, food, hotel rooms, phones, and other services.
  • I am the journalists covered in soot and risking their own safety so they can tell the world what has happened.
  • I am the camera operators who stood strong and took video and still photographs, even as people around them ran for their lives.
  • I am General Electric, donating $10 million to the families of emergency workers who have lost their lives.
  • I am the investigators who are working swiftly and with precision to identify the terrorists and their accomplices.
  • I am the Pentagon workers who aren’t coming home.
  • I am Ronnie Clifford, who was trying to save a woman’s life outside the first tower, even as his own sister was aboard the United Airlines plane that was about to hit the second tower.
  • I am the rescue personnel who toil to the point of exhaustion, take a break and then get back to the most grisly and heartbreaking work imaginable.
  • I am the millions of Americans who will mourn, weep, pray, and never forget.
  • I am the spirit of America, and I am alive and strong, and you can never kill me.

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