A 9/11 Anniversary Message
Today marks the 20th anniversary of 9/11. On that fateful day 19 men affiliated with the terrorist group al-Qaeda hijacked four passenger jets. Two of the jets flew into the World Trade Center, one hit the Pentagon, and United Airlines Flight 93 crashed after passengers and crew tried to regain control of the jet. I like everyone else who was alive 20 years ago remember the moment I learned about the tragedy. Almost 3,000 innocent people died and 6,000 people were injured during the worst attack on American soil since Pearl Harbor. The event shaped my adult life as I soon joined the U.S. Coast Guard after the event. I witnessed the Coast Guards transformation from a primarily lifesaving organization, to a law enforcement and Intelligence agency focused on homeland security.
After 9/11 and during the early part of the Afghanistan and Iraq war everyone showed their respect for men and women in uniform. The words “thank you for your service” easily rolled of the tongues of most adults for over ten years. Now, 20 years later we’re living in a golden age of hatred towards all first responders. In this fractured day and age first responders are caught in the middle of the culture wars. Police officers are experiencing hatred and violence from the radical left and the far right. Doctors and nurses are being targeted by anti-vaxxers and COVID-19 deniers. Teachers are being attacked by parents because school administrations are making masks mandatory. First responders must deal with this crap on top of the inherent risks of their jobs. After 13 years of serving my country, I have never been more ashamed to be an American. My September 11th message to all who read this is this, if you can’t look at a first responder and see that there’s a person underneath the uniform who cares and is doing their best to live up to an oath that they have made, then you’re underserving of the service they provide. When you chip away at the confidence and morale of first responders with your “precious rights” you destroy the foundation on which all your freedoms rest upon. Please think about that.