Tuesday, September 11, 2012

9/11: Remember Past, Honor Present, Cherish Future

By Navy CAPT Paul S. Hammer, DCoE director

Each generation of Americans witness, and some personally experience, “a date which will live in infamy.” These specific moments are etched in our minds and in the history of our country. They are periods of time recalled in an instant, by some more vividly than others. Where we were, what we were doing, what we were feeling — these powerful shared experiences bond each generation with the next.

Generations were witness to the attack on Pearl Harbor, the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the attempt on President Ronald Reagan’s life, and the terrorist attacks in the United States on Sept. 11, 2001. Never forgotten, always remembered.

Like others, I too, can recall where I was, what I was doing and what I was feeling on Sept. 11, 2001. I was on the west coast at the time. It was a warm, bright sunny day, like so many others that year in California and I was headed back to the clinic after my workout. When I arrived back at the clinic, it was then that I saw the slowly developing news coverage and the collapse of the Twin Towers. Looking back I just remember thinking, everything has changed.

On the 11th anniversary of 9/11, I urge all Americans to remember the Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, Airmen and Coast Guardsmen who are still at war, and particularly those who gave their lives defending our nation during the last 11 years. We also pay tribute to the veterans, wounded warriors and their families who shoulder the burden of war here at home and will continue to do so for decades to come.

While we will never forget all that was lost on 9/11, I ask that you also remember what we gained as a country. As a part of the National Day of Service and Remembrance, I hope each and every one of us can rekindle the growth of a country sparked by an unspoken bond and once again come together to give back to our communities — today, tomorrow and the next. In doing so we ensure we are honoring the victims, survivors and those who volunteered to serve the days, weeks and years following Sept. 11, 2001.

No matter how you choose to pay it forward, whether it’s through volunteering, charitable organizations or random acts of kindness, your efforts will make a difference.


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