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9.11.01——My Thoughts

The Way I See It

September 18, 2011
By John Sheda
 Last Sunday, we celebrated the tenth anniversary of perhaps the worst day in American history. But “celebrate” is probably a bad word choice. How about “Honored” or “We Shall Never Forget?” Regardless, it was a day that brought much emotion to each and every one of us. We all know where we were and what we were doing and it shook us all to the very core of our being. 

 The United States has been through many disasters, horrible events and attacks. Events that shook you and me to our knees. I was not yet born when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor but even President Roosevelt said it would go down in history as a “day of infamy.” Through the years, we have been in wars, lived through natural disasters and watched political heros assassinated in front of our very eyes.

 I remember that horrible day President John F. Kennedy was shot and killed. November 22, 1963 is a date I will never forget. The height of the Cold War, just coming off the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962 and now our President assassinated. I was twelve years old and in the seventh grade at St. Joseph’s School in Chelsea. One of the parents knocked on the door of our classroom and while crying, spoke quietly and softly to our teacher, Sister Virginia. She gasped in horror and announced to the class that Kennedy had been shot. She turned on the TV and we were shortly all told to go home. It was about 1:30 in the afternoon, I believe. I along with so many others thought for sure the Soviet Union was going to attack in the very near future. It was a frightening time for everyone. And in the not too distant future, we also faced the killings of Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr. 

 Yes, America has faced so many challenges and we have met each and every one of them. Until that horrible day of September 11, 2001. Four of our planes became enemy missiles and attacked our homeland. And we watched it live on TV. We saw and experienced the horror of it all. And this date will be forever etched in our minds. How many other planes were to become missiles? Would we have to shoot down our own passenger planes? What if other places around the country, such as the Sears Tower, the Washington Monument, Golden Gate Bridge or so many other landmarks were hit? How were we to defend this kind of cowardice? Attacks from behind! Attacks into Civilian places! The trademarks of cowards is what that is.

 But we did survive. And not only survived, we have endured and thrived. We became once again “One Nation Under God.” We have fought terrorism and although it seems an impossible task, we are gaining ground against them. But with a cost. A very high cost. American military lives. Giving the ultimate sacrifice.

 We bow our heads, take off our caps and honor the men and women who have fought for our freedom. Those brave Americans who leave the comforts of home and family to help eradicate terrorism. But not only those but to all our living Veterans who gave years of their lives for their country. You are all such very special people. I had the great privilege of giving the opening and closing prayer at a community service in Independence. To be surrounded by the Fire Department, Police Department and all the Veterans was quite an honor. So with that, I tip my hat to the local Fire and Police Departments of Tama County and to all of you Veterans. We love and appreciate each and every one of you.

 I close with a well know quote from our late President John F. Kennedy, “Ask not what America can do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of men...let us go forth to lead the land we love, asking His blessing and His help, but knowing that here on earth God’s work must truly be our own.” 

 That’s The Way I See It.........let me know how you see it at jsheda@indytel.com or call me at 319-334-4117.  God bless our men and women presently in the service, all of our Veterans and may God truly Bless America.

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