|Photo credit: Dan Sloan, 9/10/11|
There have been so many instances in our lives that stay with us long after they’ve happened. How many people have said to you “I know exactly where I was when President Kennedy was shot”. Or when the Space Shuttle exploded killing the crew (including America's 1st teacher in space). But more recently, September 11th is a day that will always hold a special meaning to all of us.
At that time I was working as a conductor for Amtrak. On That day I was returning to Albany on a train from Niagara Falls, New York. When we arrived in Syracuse a woman boarded the train saying that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center. We pretty much laughed it off and continued on toward Albany. Our train was stopped just before Rome, NY where State Police boarded and ordered the other conductor and me to search the train and look for anything suspicious.
People on the train of Arab decent were terrified of arriving in New York City. I will never forget the next few days. City streets normally jammed with traffic were empty. Penn Station was still busy, but not like it usually was. It became clear that our country and way of life had been viciously attacked. It was a hard thing to make sense of, that our country was that vulnerable.
I have always been an admirer of Abraham Lincoln. His speeches always fascinated me because in many ways they were faith based. This particular speech was given as a State of the Union Address. It was not very long after the Civil war had begun. The Union was dissolving and brother was literally fighting against brother. As you read these words I ask you to think about the times we live in now. Like many of the stories in the Bible this is a life lesson. I hope find as much enjoyment from it as I do.
“ This Government must endure in spite of the acts of any man...or set of men. Nowhere in the world is the government of so much liberty and equality. To the humblest and poorest among us are held the highest privileges and positions. At what point then should we expect the approach of danger, and by what means should we fortify against it. Should we expect some Trans-Atlantic Giant to step the ocean and crush us with a single blow. No...All the armies of Europe, Asia, and Africa combined could not by force take a drink from the Ohio River, or make a track on the Blue Ridge Mountains. If destruction be our lot we ourselves must be its author and its finisher. As a nation of free men we must live through all time or die by suicide. Surely God would not have created such a being as man with the ability to grasp the infinite to exist only for a day. No, No.Man was made for immortality"
My friends, if we take anything from these words it should be that we are still here, standing tall and facing a flag that we have pledged allegiance to for generations. We are that one nation, under God indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. May God continue to bless America and us all.