Today marks the sixth year anniversary of September 11th, 2001. What has changed? It's really pretty hard to say. Flying home from Las Vegas yesterday I was completely molested at airport security, even while wearing my service uniform. Was it a change from seven years ago? Yes. Did it make me feel safer? Not really. Some changes are obvious six years later. Obviously, we are at war, but strangely the number of flags you see being flown has steadily begun to wane. People are becoming less willing to state that they are proud to be an American. People have begun to allow politics to influence their support to things apolitical, such as support for those over in Afghanistan and Iraq. Doesn't something like that transcend politics?
Last September 11th was my first while in the Marine Corps. It was an important day for me because it was one of the primary motivating factors for my joining the military. This September 11th marks my first since having served in Iraq. How has the day changed for me? Well, it has in many ways. For the first time I feel that I can say that I knew someone killed by September 11th. No, Howey and Windsor were not killed in the WTC or at the Pentagon, but those attacks claimed their lives, even if it was five and a half years afterwards. For the first time I can attest firsthand to the evils of al Qaeda. I will not enter into debate on whether AQ was in Iraq when we invaded. I don't care anymore. But I do know that they are now. I know the atrocities that they are committing to the people of that country and I know that they are attacking US servicemen everyday there. I know that six years ago nearly 20 men, convinced and driven by a warped ideology, took over a plane and sacrificed their own lives to kill Americans. Guess what? Those same people came after us in Iraq. We were hit with nearly 10 suicide bombers while we were there, just our unit. Who can say what damage those men would have done if there target had not been available in Iraq, and instead was only available in the form of innocent civilians on American soil? We absorbed the horror of ideological Islam in Iraq so that it would not hit our family and friends at home.
So what would I ask of Americans six years post-9/11? Do not be afraid to fly your flag today. Don't be embarrassed to stand and put your hand over your heart for the National Anthem, let alone be afraid to sing along. Most of all, do not be afraid to remember the fallen, those that went to Iraq and Afghanistan to prevent another attack on our soil.
*Last night I posted a link to my friend Dave Folwell's charity drive. I don't want to use this site to push anything on anyone, but this cause is personal for me. I have friends missing arms, legs, and fingers from Iraq. Please take time and consider donating to his race, these young men will be carrying the price of freedom for the rest of their lives and could use your help. Thank You.