I don't bleed red, white and blue. I don't really care whether someone removes their hat when the National Anthem is playing. I'm not offended when someone burns a flag in protest. I do however think it is important to take at least a moment of my day each September 11th, to acknowledge the sacrifice of so many brave American men and women.
Honestly, as embarrassed as I am to admit this, when my assignment editor told me I had to be into work early to shoot a flag display at UCCS, I asked why? It didn't dawn on me that it was part of a larger ceremony honoring the victims of 9-11. While working in news has its down sides (for instance not having Saturday and Sunday off) it is important to point out one aspect that I am grateful for.
Working in news forces to me to keep defining moments in American history at the forefront of my mind. It allows me the opportunity to attend commemorative ceremonies, and talk to people who have taken on the task of keep memories alive. While at a Tribute Bike Rally today a man said to me, "in America we are too quick to become complacent. It isn't an option for me. It is my duty as an American to make sure these men and women, these hero's, didn't die in vain. Some people serve their county by going into the military. Others become firefighters, police officers or EMT's. While this rally may be small, it is our way of serving our country."
As I watched the 400 bikes ride past me on the street, I couldn't help but contemplate those words. Eight years removed from the horrors of September 11, 2001, we as Americans have lost sight of some of the most important lessons of that day. The unity, the patriotism, the genuine care and concern for our neighbors is gone. In the middle of a heated healthcare debate, where citizens are screaming at their elected representatives, elected officials are lashing out at their president, I can only hope that this anniversary puts things in perspective.
What exactly are we fighting for? The America I love is the one where we respect diversity of opinions. The America I love is the one where we can engage our fellow citizens in a heated debate, and pat each other on the back when we are through. The America I love is the one where we look out for the welfare of those less fortunate, where we strive to be the best we can be, and where respect those who sacrifice their own lives in order to keep others safe.
So what am I trying to say? I guess what I mean is that on this anniversary of the 9-11 terrorist attacks, I've been reminded of not only why I love being American, but also why I love working in television. If I was anywhere else I wouldn't get to stop and talk to the man who stands on the corner of Galley and Academy every year waving his flag while honking horns speed by. If I didn't work in TV wouldn't get to talk to the college senior who was 13 when the towers fell, but still has the news clippings from that day. If I wasn't here, I wouldn't have taken the time to remember.