Measure of a Hero

“It’s been ten years, but it feels like it was yesterday.” ~Deborah Epps (who lost her brother, Christopher Epps)

Hero: A man of distinguished courage or ability, admired for his brave deeds and noble qualities. (dictionary.com)

Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. (Jesus/John 15:13).

When you put these two definitions together, you see the inner character of those who died on September 11, 2001, so that others might live. America took a hit that day.And in the midst of that hit, we showed who we truly are as a collective people. Red and yellow, black and white – on that day we became all one people, all one color, coated in the gray ashes of our fallen. We pulled together then and in subsequent days as America struggled to recover from being knocked down. But to paraphrase the song by Chumbawamba: we get knocked down but we get up again; they’re never gonna keep us down!

Ten years have passed since the day American lives changed forever – some much more than others. In that 10 years, not only America but the world has changed. We’ve survived, gone on. We’ve lived because others that day gave their lives, because others since that time have put their lives on the line to advance the fight against terrorism.

I am by no stretch an advocate for war. But on this day of remembrance, let us consider not only the innocent people who lost their lives when America was attacked, not only the heroes who risked their lives and those who paid with their lives, but those who have paid over the last 10 years as well – our military personnel in foreign countries, and the families who serve right along with them – sometimes waiting at home, sometimes moving to the other side of the world to be stationed with them. America is a country built on the sacrifices of others.

And let us also consider those who were left behind, those whose family members displayed the ultimate heroism in this war we didn’t start but I sincerely hope we finish. Those who are growing up without fathers…or mothers. Those whose are a brother or sister short. Those who will never see or hold a spouse again. My heart, my prayers are with you all this day.

All people who were old enough when it happened to remember 09/11/2001 can probably state  exactly where they were and what they were doing when it happened, when they heard. Everyone lost something that day. But we also gained. We gained the strength to be found in unity.   I pray we never forget the sacrifices of others. But I also pray for peace to settle in the hearts of us all, and that we can hold onto the unity we found when we worked together. May we all rest easy in the arms of God, whatever your perception of Him.

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