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Tomorrow is September 11.  That date will resonate with Americans for a long time.  Just thinking about that date conjures up images of tragedy, tears, and death.  But we also remember heroism, sacrifice, and unity in the face of evil.  So much has happened in the nine years since the tragedies in New York, Washington, and Pennsylvania, much has changed.  For some the intervening years have been a salve on the wound that has helped them heal and move on.  For others, the loss of a loved one, either during the attacks or in the intervening years of combat, has kept the wound fresh.

For me, and I hope for many other Americans, the wound may have closed, but a scar remains to remind me of that terrible day.

I am a student of history.  I truly enjoy devouring any and all information I can get about what has happened before me, and what has transpired since my birth.  And if my study of history has taught me anything it is the truism in the statement that history repeats itself.  George Santayana said: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

Truer words have never been spoken.

It is easy for us to place an event nearly a decade old, even something as dauntingly huge as 9/11, firmly in our past.  It is easy to see it as our history and not our present.  But, the present is the product of history.  We learned a lesson nine years ago.  We learned that man still hates man.  We learned that no creature is capable of greater inhumanity than mankind.  And, we learned that those that hate will turn to violence in terror when that hate consumes them.

In the intervening years much of that lesson has been lost in the wrangling over the political and social issues such attacks have raised.  We argue with one another about the appropriateness of this word or that action.  And as these arguments have raged, men and women in our military and intelligence communities have labored, fought, and died to keep the terror from once again crossing our threshold.

So, this year, take a moment, an hour, a day.  Remember.  Run your fingers across that scar, feel that familiar ache, and steel your vigilance.  I will remember for the rest of my life the sudden quiet in a normally bustling call center that morning.  That silence was one of the most frightening sounds I have ever heard, and it will haunt me for the rest of my life.  I have resolved to never forget.  I have resolved to remember that hate can consume and kill.  I have resolved to be thankful for every sacrifice given, from that day to this, which has kept me safe.

I only ask that you do the same.


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