Thursday, September 11, 2003

September 11

Good morning patriots. Our television is on. I hear the children reading the names of sisters and brothers, uncles and aunts, mothers and fathers. There are too many names. Solemnly they read each name.

My children have been asking about this new day on the calendar: Patriot Day. What are we supposed to do? What does it mean? I am not satisfied with the definitions I have heard or read about. It seems insufficient to say that this is a day of remembrance. We should never forget that lives were lost; that a tragedy beyond comprehension still leaves a painful hole in our hearts. I propose that Patriot Day be a day of action, effort, and caring that extends beyond personal grief. Patriot Day should be a national day of volunteering and of extending our skills, time and concern to others in need. I can see buttons that read: "Patriot Day, I am Here to Help." I can see a day where we donate the blessings of our labors, the blessings of our abilities. Imagine the tremendous good that we could achieve if on just one day we gave of ourselves; willingly, selflessly making a small sacrifice in the name and memory of men, women and children who gave everything, and in honor of men and women who every day tend to the sick, seek peace and resolution, defend security, rescue, protect, guide and nurture. I think this one official day of volunteering, of acting for others, could be more personally rewarding than we know.

The heroes I have read about, the heroes that make us proud, have been the men and women who give of themselves again and again, and again. They do not seek honor or recognition. They aren't looking for a tax break, or simply making speeches about duty and righteousness. On Memorial Day and Veterans' Day we remember sacrifice and duty, we raise flags, place flowers, and take a holiday. On Patriot Day let's do the deeds of heroes. In small ways and great, we can make a difference in someone's life, we can leave a park cleaner, we can hold a hand, feed a family, teach a skill, explain a document...Each of us is the blessing, the hero, and when we say "God Bless America," we should step forward to act as the blessing.

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