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Letter: Remember sacrifices on Patriot Day

Published: Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

To the Editor:

Today, as we honor Patriot Day and the 2,977 Americans who tragically lost their lives 12 years ago, there’s no denying that America has changed.

Since that horrible day, we’ve fought in two wars. The one in Iraq has ended, and the one in Afghanistan is winding down. Thousands of our nation’s finest have paid the ultimate price fighting for our freedom, and thousands more have returned home bearing the physical and mental scars of battle. Our country as a whole is more vigilant when it comes to safety and security.

When the terrorists attacked us 12 years ago, their hope was to weaken America and dampen her spirit. Instead, Americans united and proved that not only will we not be defeated, but that we’re stronger than ever.

Americans rediscovered their devotion to their country and neighbors that day. We boldly stood as a nation, and refused to succumb to fear or despair. It truly became one of our finest hours.

The memory of the innocents who perished as a result of the attacks on that fateful day will remain etched in our minds; the heroic acts of that day are just as enduring.

We witnessed rescue personnel and ordinary citizens become true heroes that day, in some cases sacrificing their own lives.

As the dust settled and America rallied, a new generation of service members answered the call to duty. For 12 years now, those men and women put their lives on the line to protect us from such merciless attacks.

They’ve liberated a country from the clutches of tyranny. They’ve severely weakened a terrorist network. They’ve empowered just governments and trained militaries so that they may sufficiently govern and defend themselves against evil extremists.

But there’s no question that Americans still face threats to our way of life, whether overseas or on American soil. However, Sept. 11 is a reminder that we must act to ensure that ignorance and hatred never prevail, and that we will never allow anyone to take our freedom.

Let’s take a moment to reflect on everything that’s changed since Sept. 11, 2001, and honor the victims and those who’ve selflessly sacrificed, by committing ourselves to our families, our communities and our country. That’s what makes America great. That’s what makes America a symbol of hope. That’s the best way to honor the memory of those lost.

Rick Cliffe

Post Commander, VFW Post 2287 DeKalb

Paul Kallembach

Adjutant/Quartermaster, VFW Post 2287 DeKalb

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