Thursday, October 18, 2007

A Churchill Student Speaks

Six years ago on Sept. 11, 2001, America faced devastation.
America faced sorrow. America faced conflict. And America faced despair.

A group of terrorists decided that they did not like our way of
life. They decided to commit an act that would alter thousands of lives.
They decided to kill.Today, as Americans, we are obligated to remember
those we lost and honor those who are fighting at this moment so that we can continue to live our lives in freedom, with liberty and justice for all.

On Sept. 11, 2007, at several high schools in Montgomery County,
administrations opted not to remember. Not to honor. They decided that
their intense academic curricula could not be put on hold to honor the
fallen heroes of our nation.Not just that, but there was not even a
moment of silence at any point in the day to remember those we have
lost. In fact, the school day went on just as any other would have.
There was no mention of those who perished. There was not a thought of
those who lost the ones they loved. And there was not a word spoken
about the heroes who lost their lives that day, and who continue to give
themselves up so that we may carry on with our lives the same way that
we have for over 230 years.It is not OK that thousands of students went
through the day without even casting a thought as to what our nation
experienced on 9/11. Kids just like them - high school students - lost
parents on Sept. 11, 2001. They lost friends. They lost brothers. They
lost sisters.The re is no honor in forgetting the dead, but rather there
is honor in remembering those we have lost, and those who perished so
that the rest of us may continue to live.

This is the one day of the entire year that we can come together
as a country and just realize how lucky we are to be free and live in
this great country. It is the one day that we should feel blessed that
we were not in those planes, or in those buildings, or amongst the
heroes on Flight 93.

Sept. 11 should be a day that we appreciate what we have and
appreciate the freedom we enjoy. We live in the United States of
America. We live in the greatest country in the entire world. There
isn't one country in the entire world that enjoys the freedom that we
do. There isn't one country in the entire world that rivals the quality
of life that we in America have.

Today, we fight on, supposedly as one. On Sept. 11, 2001,
President Bush promised that the terrorists would pay for their
misdeeds. He promised that America would find those responsible for the
deaths of their loved ones, their fellow citizens. Whether or not you
agree with how he handled the situation is irrelevant. I don't care if
you're an Elephant or a Donkey. I don't care if you're from Springfield,
Ky., or Springfield, Mass. All that matters today is that there are
people fighting at this very moment to ensure our freedom for
generations to come, so that our children will enjoy the same freedoms
of speech, freedom of religion and freedom of expression that we have

The brave men and women fighting have made the ultimate
sacrifice for you and me, and without them, we are nothing. Without the
unity that we should have felt on a day like Sept. 11, we are nothing.
The moniker goes, ``United We Stand, Divided We Fall," and today, more
than ever, that should ring true.

I remember exactly where I was on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001.
I was playing saxophone. The music teacher wanted me to perform so new kids would want to join band. My mom even brought my instrument to school for me. I was 10 years old. I played, enjoying the nostalgic
elementary experience, not knowing what was going on right down the road from me to other Americans.

Throughout the rest of the school day, parents came in to pull
their kids out of school. I wanted to know what was going on, but no one
would tell me. As I rode on the bus to my house, thoughts raced through
my mind as to what had happened. Finally, I got home, and my mom had me sit down in the living room. She told me what happened. She told me that our way of life had been challenged by a group of men who had hatred in their hearts, running through their veins.

On the surface, it did not mean much to me. However, one month
later, I still could not accept that the Twin Towers were gone. I could
not accept that some people were so evil, and would go to such dire
means in order to get a message of hatred across to the world. I also
remember one other thing. On that day, that afternoon, in my living
room, my mother told me never to forget.

So I ask you, my fellow Americans, do we allow those courageous men and women who perished on Sept. 11, 2001, to be cast in the shadows of America? Do we allow ourselves to forget? Do we allow the enemy to be victorious in their quest to inflict a deep wound in the American psyche? No. We remember, and we carry on the memory of this great tragedy with us every day. We appreciate the great fortune we have to live in freedom and safety, and we thank those who have gotten us to
this point. We move on, but we never forget.

Sept. 11, 2001 - a chapter of sorrow that will be forever etched
into the storybook that is America. Today, we must stand united for the
cause of America and her values and glorious way of life. Today, we must
stand together, and stand as one. From sea to shining sea, we remember.
From sea to shining sea, we honor. From sea to shining sea, we carry on.
But we never forget. We never forget those we have lost in our quest to
live with liberty and justice for all, in the land of the free and the
home of the brave.

May God Bless America, and may He bless all those who protect it
every day with their lives. Amen.

Max is a 16-year-old junior at Winston Churchill High School in