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Monday, September 13, 2010

9-11-2010 on 9-12-2010

I want to pass along these thoughts by my friend "Barney" Barnes. Retired Naval Aviator, Chief Deputy (among many other things), this gentleman, my senior by about 20 years, invests in the lives of men for the sake of the gospel. He also loves this country and has a lot to say that my generation needs to hear. So, with that said, here are his thoughts on 9-11 this year. DRG

Some Thoughts on 9-11-01—on 9-12-10

Yesterday I, like many millions of Americans, spent some quality time reviewing and reflecting on the unfolding of the events of September 11, 2001. My thoughts naturally flowed into how those events have impacted our nation and our world over these last nine years. I was somewhat surprised at the extent to which the magnitude of the attack had been minimized in my own mind. I had forgotten the colossal nature of the twin towers’ collapse and the momentary fear, panic, and stunned paralysis on the faces of Americans as the diabolical plot methodically played out. You may have had a similar experience but now it is 12 September once again.

Although it was often reported that “3000 Americans were killed” it is important to note that the actual number of victims of the terrorist attack was 2,977. While the majority of these were Americans, more than 90 countries lost citizens to the carnage. This number, like the 2,350 killed at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, is the number that will live in infamy and forever darken what was to be a bright, late summer day in 2001. We should not denigrate the lives of such helpless victims by carelessly speaking of the magnitude of their sacrifice by even one life.

Accordingly, I believe it wise and prudent to review a brief construct of the 2,977. First we must remember the 246 passengers and crew aboard the four airplanes who endured the horrific and torturous ride to their deaths. Then there are the 2,606 men, women and children in the Twin Towers and on the ground who were simply beginning their Tuesday morning activities. Among these 2,606 dead are 343 firefighters, 60 police officers, and 8 private EMT/EMS. Lastly there are the 125 who died in the Pentagon attack of which 55 were military personnel.

I can not help but remember the words spoken over another series of killing fields where, during a 3 day battle, 3,155 Union troops and 3,500 Confederate troops were killed in action. We also know that approximately 15,000 were wounded on each side and that, statistically, 15% of these would soon die of their wounds. Accordingly, well over 10,000 were killed at Gettysburg.

The Gettysburg Address begins simply …“Four score and seven years ago our Fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.” These words, rooted in The Declaration of Independence, have been a river of life across the generations and resonate in my spirit and animate my thinking on this September 12th. President Abraham Lincoln ends his epoch address with the same profound simplicity …“that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain---that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom---and that government of the people, by the people and for the people shall not perish from the earth.”

Thomas Jefferson often spoke of eternal vigilance as being the price of liberty. Achieving this high standard is not an easy task. It is, however, the requirement. It can not be achieved by a government program. It can only be achieved in the hearts and actions of those who love liberty. Perhaps one way we could uphold this standard is by being resolute…“that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain” and look humblyand intently to God to “crown our Good with Brotherhood…from sea to shining sea!”

Prepared by: John R. “Barney” Barnes

CDR USN® 9-12-10