Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Day of Remembrance

                    Once again we commemorate September 11, 2001, the day terrorists crashed two hijacked commercial airliners into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City.  As we watched these 110-story buildings collapse, we learned that a third airliner had taken a dive into the Pentagon Building, the headquarters of the United States Department of Defense located in Arlington, Virginia.  This structure suffered a massive fire and the collapse of one side of the five-sided building.  We learned that a fourth airliner had crashed into a field in western Pennsylvania.  There was some thought that this airplane was intended for the White House or Capitol Building but was brought down by an uprising among the passengers.

                    September 11, 2001, - known as 9/11 - changed the world forever and became another date that will live in infamy.  Just as the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, this attack on our own soil by terrorists galvanized and unified Americans against those who seek to destroy our nation.

                    "On Tuesday, Sept. 11, 1001, the world changed forever.  The United States, the world's only superpower, sustained a devastating attack on its own soil by a foreign enemy whose agents had infiltrated American society.  The ferocity and scale of the attack shook most American's sense of security and awakened them to the threat of deadly terrorist violence.  The enemy was not a rival nation, as had been the case in wars of the 20th century, but a shadowy, multinational movement whose members were highly motivated and technologically sophisticated.  The members of this enemy movement claimed to be fighting the United States in defense of their religion, Islam, in a great struggle between good and evil.

                    "Shortly before 9:00 a.m. in New York City that September morning, American Airlines Flight 11, a Boeing 767, slammed into the north tower of the World Trade Center in New York City.  Less than 20 minutes later, United Airlines Flight 175, also a Boeing 767, crashed into the south tower.  Both planes had been hijacked after taking off from Boston's Logan International Airport.  Less than two hours later, the twin skyscrapers collapsed into a massive, smoldering pile of rubble.

                    "The dramatic attack on the twin towers in the financial heart of the United States was only the beginning of the nightmare.  At approximately 9:40 a.m., a hijacked American Airlines Boeing 757 out of Dulles International Airport in Herndon, Virginia, plowed into the Pentagon Building, the headquarters of the U.S. Department of Defense, just outside Washington, D.C.  A fourth plane, United Airlines Flight 93, a Boeing 757 scheduled to fly from Newark, New Jersey, to San Francisco, was taken over by hijackers and redirected toward Washington, D.C.  Officials with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) later speculated that the hijackers intended to crash the plane into the White House or Capitol.  However, at about 10:00 a.m., the plane went down in a field in Pennsylvania.  Passengers on board, after learning of the other suicide hijackings from cellular telephone calls, apparently overpowered the hijackers and forced the plane to crash."  (See R. Scott Appleby, World Book Encyclopedia 2002 Year Book, [2002] pp. 38-39.)

                    Investigators later concluded the 19 hijackers were from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Algeria and other Arabic countries and were part of an organization known as Al-Qaeda and led by Osama bin Laden.  Thousands of people were killed that September morning with estimates of approximately 3,000 - more people than died in the attack on Pearl Harbor.  These victims included 300 firefighters, 189 people in the Pentagon, and 44 in Pennsylvania.

                    There were many heroes that awful day.  The names of Todd Beamer, Jeremy Glick, Tom Burnett, Mark Bingham, Lou Nacke, rich Guadagno, CeeCee Ross-Lyles, Sandy Bradshaw, Elizabeth Wainio, Laura Grandcolas, Joseph Delus, Linda Gronland, Don Greene and Andrew Garcia will always be on the list of heroes of that day.  They were passengers on United Flight 93 and made the deliberate decision to take control of the aircraft; they were determined to save the lives of other people even if it meant the loss of their own lives.  We honor the First Responders who rushed into the Twin Towers to help others and lost their own lives or suffered from health problems from the experience.  Others heroes were on the scenes, those who preserve and protect our lives, our homes and our freedoms everyday:  policemen, firemen, military personnel, FBI, CIA, etc.

                    The events of 9/11 affected all of us differently.  When I heard that one airplane had hit the World Trade Center, I thought it was a private plane out of control; when I heard about the second aircraft, I knew that our country was being attacked - even before I knew that airliners were involved.  When I learned that all airliners were grounded, I was concerned about my daughter-in-law who was scheduled to take a red-eye flight from Anchorage, Alaska, to Salt Lake City, Utah.  I was greatly relieved that she was on a direct flight rather than stopping in Seattle as ticketed and had arrived home safely.

                    Just as I remember where I was and what I was doing when I learned of the assassination of John F. Kennedy and the attempted assassination of Ronald Reagan, I will remember the way our world was turned up-side-down by a group of extreme Islamic terrorists on 9/11.  I remember the horror I felt when the authorities thought another hijacked airliner was headed for our city.  I remember that offices buildings, etc. were emptied in downtown Anchorage before the aircraft was diverted to an airport in Canada.  I remember the immediate need I felt to fly my United States flag and only later realized that I was only one of millions of Americans who had this same reaction to the horror of the day.  I remember the eerie silence when only military planes were flying and the isolation I felt as I drove around Lake Hood, the largest float plane base in America.

                    Last year our nation marked the tenth anniversary of 9/11 with speeches and musical performances.  A ceremony was held  
at Ground Zero to dedicate a memorial to 9/11.  This memorial consists of two beautiful granite reflecting pools that were built in the footprints of the original twin towers.  Bronze panels inscribed with the names of the people who died at Ground Zero on September 11, 2001, surround the pools.  Another memorial was dedicated at the Pentagon previous to this dedication. 

                    Whether or not people agree with the politics of President Bush, no one can deny that he is always a class act, and he did not disappoint us when he spoke at the dedication of a memorial in Pennsylvaniaon September 10, 2011.    

"When the sun rose in the Pennsylvania sky ten years ago tomorrow, it was a peaceful September morning.  By the time it set nearly 3,000 people were gone, the most lives lost on American soil in a single day since the battle of Antietam….
                    "One of the lessons of 9/11 is that evil is real, and so is courage….

                    "For generations people will study the flight, the story of Flight 93.  They will learn that individual choices make a difference, that love and sacrifice can triumph over evil and hate, and that what happened above this Pennsylvania field ranks among the most courageous acts in American history.

                    "The memorial we dedicate today will ensure our nation always remembers those lost here on 9/11.  But we have a duty beyond memory.  We have a duty beyond honoring.  We have a duty to live our lives in a way that upholds the ideals for which the men and women gave their lives, to build a living memorial to their courage and sacrifice.  We have a duty to find common purpose as a nation….

                    "Secondly, we have a duty to remain engaged in the world as 9/11 proved that the conditions in the country on the other side of the world can have an impact on our own streets.  It may be tempting to think it doesn't matter what happens to a villager in Afghanistan or a child in Africa, but the temptation of isolation is deadly wrong….

                    "Finally, we each have a duty to serve a cause larger than ourselves.  The passengers aboard Flight 93 set an example that inspires us all.  Many have followed their path of service by donating blood or mentoring a child or volunteering in desperate corners of the earth.  Some have devoted their careers to analyzing intelligence or protecting our borders and securing our skies.  Others have made the noble choice to defend our nation in battle….

                    Many years ago, in 1863, another President came to dedicate a memorial site in this state.  He told his audience that, `In a larger sense we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground.  For the brave souls who struggled there,  consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract.'  He added, `the world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here.'"

                    In an effort to keep our memories of that day alive, I encourage you to click on other links for pictures of the events of 9/11 and beautiful music.  One of the first songs to appear after 9/11 was one performed by Alan Jackson who recorded "Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning."  You can find it here or here. 

                News anchor Tom Brokaw, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, and the Orchestra at Temple Square joined together to produce a special "Music and the Spoken Word" for the event entitled "Rising Above".  

                    Americans must remember the attacks of 9/11 as well as the unity of our nation that day.  We must remember how we felt on September 12, 2001.  We must remember the time we were truly united as Americans.    We must remember 9/11 just as other generations remembered significant events in their times and rallied to the cause of liberty.  During the Spanish American War, the cry was "Remember the Alamo!"  In World War II, the cry became "Remember Pearl Harbor!"  Today our cry must be "Remember 9/11!"

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