It hardly feels like 14 years since we first learned a jet airliner flew into the World Trade Center. As many of us watched that scene unfold on live television, it became quickly apparent the first crash was no accident, but a deliberate, premeditated and orchestrated attack of malice and cowardice upon innocent Americans.
Throughout that day, we saw images of fire, smoke, wreckage and civilians jumping to their death, having made the decision that dying as the result of falling from a high rise was better than being trapped and burned alive. We saw firefighters, emergency medical personnel and law enforcement officers rush to those burning buildings with the hopes of rescuing as many people as they could, so the decision on the best way to die would not be necessary. Sadly, we also watched as the buildings collapsed, crushing and killing those same public safety professionals.
In the days that followed, we continued to watch the rescue and recovery efforts on television. As we began to hear about the terrorists and learned the term al-Qaeda, patriots across the country, including those in Cherokee County, rose up and acted.
Many members of our community went to local military recruiting stations and signed up to defend our country while others organized and sent care packages to soldiers. Some residents showed their patriotism by flying the American Flag, tying yellow ribbons on trees or their car antennas while others committed to buying American made products. Regardless of the actions taken, there was an overwhelming sense of unity. As Americans, and despite any differences, we banded together to support each other, to support our communities and to support our country. Doing so showed the spirit of America and it showed our resolve to support and defend our republic and our free nation.
This morning, as I heard taps play during a memorial ceremony, like many of you, I felt a renewed sense of sadness, a renewed anger at our enemies and a renewed longing for the pride felt when we all came together to support our country.
We have the ability to do that again. We have the ability to distinguish between journalists who report the news and talking head entertainers who push agendas under the guise of it being news. We have the ability to recognize when organizations and politicians (from all parties) attempt to manipulate and divide us over issues of race, political affiliation, religious ideology and social status. We have the ability to come together once again and determine what we, as a community and a country, value.
My hope today, Patriots Day, is that in addition to remembering those lives lost 14 years ago, we renew our commitment to one another. We renew our commitment to using our energy to find common ground as opposed to finding differences. We renew our appreciation to be blessed enough to live in the greatest country on Earth!
Sheriff David Groves