America - US Flag flyingby Robert Gillis
Published in The Foxboro Reporter September 2002

We remember where we were when we first heard the news.

We remember the anger and pain that resonated through our very souls; cutting deeper than anything we thought we could feel. We were – and are — collectively wounded.

We remember the loss, the scope of the attacks, and the horrendous aftermath.

We remember an orchestrated attack on who and what we are, our very ideology, an enormous loss of life, broadcast as it happened.

9-11-2001.

The World Trade Center in flames. The Pentagon. Pennsylvania.

People jumping to their deaths. The images of the plane’s deadly, deliberate paths. The towers collapsing. The nuclear winter cloud of dust in Manhattan. The confusion, the chaos. The death.

We remember the media brought us all together. No commercials, no over-sentimental video segments. Just the news as it unfolded. Continuous updates, legitimate questions, and just pictures, often with no commentary at all.

We remember tales of incredible heroism. Stories of passengers who rushed the hijackers of their plane. The tragic deaths of the rescue workers who were killed when the unthinkable happened and the World trade Center collapsed on their triage units. The courageous rescuers who became victims themselves. The individuals who made it out just in time, or those searching for a loved one. Those on planes and the World Trade Center, facing certain death, calling to say goodbye to family.

We remember our outrage, the grief, the numbness, and the prayers. We remember the unimaginable nightmare that was all too real. It can’t happen here.

We remember Ground Zero. A Humbled New York City. Police barricades. “My City’s in Ruins.” The heavy air, filled with gypsum and asbestos and concrete. The mountains of wrecked and twisted steel skeletons and concrete. The empty skies. The bulldozers. The hollow look and tears in the eyes of the FDNY and NYPD. The black tape covering their badges.

We remember the search for the terrorists and the revelations of how deep the conspiracy ran.

We remember the endless list of casualties. The MISSING posters. The candles. The flowers. The silence. The looks of utter disbelief.

We remember President Bush asking us to light candles that Friday night. Friends and strangers gathered together, lighting candles, and talking. Crying. Hugging. We remember the rainbow that miraculously appeared at that moment.

We remember unflappable news anchors in tears. We remember the outrage in the world leaders.

We remember flags everywhere. United We Stand. Congress singing God Bless America.

We remember memorial services. Prayer vigils.

“I’m proud to be an American where at least I know I’m free.”

We remember.

We must never, ever forget.

This Wednesday will be the one-year anniversary of the attacks on America. Put a candle outside your home. Come to Foxboro Common for a quiet candlelight memorial at 7:00pm. Wear red, white and blue to work or school. Watch the documentaries and retrospectives. Talk to your children if they are old enough to understand. Fly the flag proudly. Go to church. Pray for the dead, pray for the living, and pray for our good soldiers still fighting the war. Say the pledge of allegiance with pride and meaning. Have a minute of silence.

During the next few weeks we will look back on the events of a year ago. Despite the pain, don’t turn away. Watch. Remember. Pray.

We will never forget the attack on America, and let us never forget we are still a great nation, one nation under God.

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