Chief Christensen Emmett Fire Department, and Veteran and I want to thank you for coming to this Memorial.
I was woke up with a phone call saying turn on the television you have to see what’s going on. I stared in disbelief and horror as the north tower of the World Trade Center was on fire, with objects falling from it. I didn’t want to believe that they were people.
My wife and I thought it was a tragic accident, up until we watched the second plane strike the south tower. We then knew that this was no mistake — my emotions went from shock to rage.
Our country was under attack, this was in no way an accident! My emotions were absolute intense visceral rage! I wanted a pound of flesh.
We watching Heros march to the towers to save our fellow countrymen and women. We watched both towers go to the ground killing them. We watched our fellow country men walk out of dust and ash covered in that dust and ash.
We watched as our president as he spoke to us. We watched as a war was begun. We watched as Heros were made. We watched as bravery was defined.
We watched the impact of war on our friends. We watched as a war was finished.
In the years since then I have been coming up to this memorial listening to speeches and never dreamed I would ever have the experience of being asked to share with you my thoughts.
I watched and listened as Sgt Butler’s wife Kim Butler read the names of our State’s Fallen Hero’s. Given the respect they and their families deserve. That was powerful and a moment I will never forget.
I have heard the words “we will never forget” so many times. I listened as our president said the same words in reference to the 13 service members that died just a few weeks ago.
Well we are a people that have short memories. Some people forget too quickly and for some it was before they were born and isn’t seared into their memory like it is mine and yours.
Never Forget. What can we practically do to never forget. I’m a Dad and a Fire Chief: I believe that if you are to say something it should be followed up with action.
We need to teach our children and grandchildren what that day and subsequent days meant: 2 towers and our Pentagon were brutally attacked by an enemy.
That Enemy that has not been defeated.
343 hero’s marched into the black hell of a burning buildings to rescue those who were trapped. 71 police officers and 8 paramedics perished.
A plane destined to strike another target was brought down by Hero’s that sacrificed their lives so that others would live.
Our military answer the call and sacrificed their tomorrows so that we could live safer.
We need to teach our children these truths.
We need to teach our children what heroism is and celebrate it.
We tell of two Marines in Ramadi, Cpl. Jonathan Yale and Lance Cpl. Jordan Haerter, that faced off with a truck that was aimed to kill 50 of their brothers and how they didn’t back down but did their duty, costing them their lives.
We teach our children what patriotism is, what sacrifice like I just mentioned is and why that is something to be Remembered.
We teach them what it means to be willing to put it all on the line.
We teach them when and why to stand when our flag is being raised and lowered. To render it with the respect it deserves. It is not just a flag, it represents: a great nation, a great people, the blood of sacrifice, a freedom that the world has never seen before.
We open the doors for that veteran and thank them for their service. We serve them because they served us.
We teach them that people and equipment need to be mission ready, that they need to be ready.
Winston Churchill said. “To each there comes in their lifetime a special moment when they are figuratively tapped on the shoulder and offered the chance to do a very special thing, unique to them and fitted to their talents. What a tragedy if that moment finds them unprepared or unqualified for that which could have been their finest hour.”
Lastly we teach our children to love our country like we love it. We don’t just say the words Never Forget: live it, preach it, teach it, practice it, and sing it to the ears of your children. So that when that enemy comes knocking again we have Hero’s to crash that plane, to charge up that fiery inferno, stand in the way of a truck that is going to kill your friends unless you stop it.
We teach them to respond to the call to defend others, to fight hard to win battles, and protect the freedom that is call the United States of America.
Will you pray with me.
Lord thank you for the men and women that serve our country, our firemen, Law Enforcement, EMTs, Soldier, Marines, Airmen, and Sailors. We thank you for their sacrifice. We thank you for our country and the freedom that is embedded into its beautiful flag that has flown into battles, worn on the shoulder of men and women that have sacrificed everything for us.
We pray for the future generation of servants that you equip them with, commitment, competence, honor, courage, humility, loyalty, integrity, discipline, standards, fitness, boldness, aggressiveness, and mental toughness.
Please help them to win battles and come home to their loved ones to enjoy the freedom that is our country. We thank you for this time we can come together as a community and as a nation to render the respect for the thousands that have sacrificed in the defense of our country.
Please Lord protect these United States.
It is in the name of Jesus that we pray. Amen.