Friday, September 7, 2012

Eleven Years Ago

Eleven Years Ago
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
September 3, 2012

Eleven years ago today, our world as we knew it changed interminably.

Wherever Americans around the globe were located they suddenly had a heightened sense of who they were as individuals, as countrymen and as proud patriots. Our only concerns were whether or not our families and loved ones were safe – especially for those of us living within the sights and sounds of Ground Zero – either of them.

Nothing else mattered – not politics, not sports – all seemed so insignificant while our realities seemed so surreal. However, attending the first Orioles home game after the resumption of baseball on September 21 proved otherwise as halfway through the National Anthem I began to cry like a baby, and I know I wasn’t alone.

Having grown up in north Jersey, with parents, sadly both Blessed memories, still living there, contact was vital. I was living in Northern Virginia, about 10 miles from the Pentagon, working as local newspaper reporter on a deadline that fateful Tuesday. We were able to appraise each other as to our whereabouts and safety, but so many others we knew were not as fortunate.

Once the beautiful, crisp morning air and blue skies were permeated by the evils of al-Qaeda in New York City, Arlington, VA and Shanksville, PA, all stories and deadlines were shelved in favor of the biggest breaking news since the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.

The entire newspaper staff was dispatched to as many communities in Northern Virginia as possible to cover the horrific terrorist attacks of that morning. A new day had dawned.

In fact, a new era had dawned – one that includes gropings at airports, stadiums and any other large populated venue; the surrendering of privacy rights and potentially freedoms in favor of political correctness because we don’t want to seem insensitive to other groups.

Yet, while life has gone blithely on as we distance ourselves further and further from September 11, 2001, and the restrictions on our freedoms become more of an inconvenience and not a violation of the Constitution, it becomes easier for the government to dictate our lives. This we must fight as though our very existence as a free people depends upon it, because, well, it does.

“Those that would sacrifice freedom for security deserve neither,” said a prophetic Benjamin Franklin.

Never forget what happened that innocent Tuesday morning 11 years ago. Our collective national strength rose up from those ashes like that of the Phoenix, and their deaths shall not have been in vain.

Sanford D. Horn is a writer and educator living in Westfield, IN.

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