On Sept. 10th I was a month away from the “milestone” of my thirtieth birthday. I was a moderate who leaned more to the left. I was raised in a Democratic home and I am gay, so naturally I was a registered Democrat who voted the party line. I was a single issue voter, if you supported gay people, I supported you. I was as wishy washy as anyone, having no true convictions. I was raised a Christian so i knew there was evil in the world, but the worst I had ever suffered was having my vehicle broken into twice. I didn’t even bother to vote in the Presidential election that year between Al Gore and George Bush because neither man excited me and I took the right to vote for granted. And then I woke up on September 11th and began my normal morning routine.
I lived in Colorado at the time and so the local news was the only thing on because it was before 7am. It was 6:45 to be exact, when I heard Matt Lauer’s voice coming from the other room. It got my attention because I knew some major news must be breaking if they were going live at that time. There was a picture of one of the twin towers with a gaping hole and Lauer describing the scene reporting that they weren’t sure the size of the plane or if this was accidental or on purpose. “On purpose?” I remember thinking. I went back to my routine and shortly thereafter heard my partner call from the other room, “My God, I just saw another plane hit the other tower.” I came running out and was glued to the set until I had to leave to work. The first tower fell just before I walked out the door. I was numb the rest of the day. Luckily I clean homes for a living and so I had TVs on in every room. The next day I bought head phones and became a huge radio fan. I was affected not only in the way everyone was that day, but I also had personal fears because my father was leaving for Korea that morning. I had no idea if his plane was in the air or not. It took him some time to call because he was sitting in a plane at the time the planes hit the towers, they just never took off and sat on the tarmac for a very long time.
I saw evil that day personfied. I saw my country attacked in a way it never had been attacked before. At least with Pearl Harbor, a war was being conducted in the world so there was some kind of “reason” for the attack. I became connected to my fellow man because we all experienced the same thing and were left in a funk and left fearful and most of all, left very angry. And President Bush who didn’t excite me enough to get me to vote for him, won my support that day. I certainly have not agreed with him on everything and this second term has left me wondering if voting for him was a good idea, but on September 11th, 2001, I was so glad and proud he was my President. The actions and comments that came from the far left caused me to really look at what I believed in my life. The weeks and months after the attacks and hearing the stories of the heroics of the people on Flight 93 and the first responders made me look at myself and ask what it was I believed in. As people started breaking out their patriotism again, I found myself wondering what it meant to be an American. What is America about and what were we founded on. It was a journey of self-discovery. At the end of it, I found myself a person of strong convictions with fierce loyalty to country. I woke up and realized that liberals were driving America to destruction and the only reason I could figure out why was because they actually hated the country they lived in. I realized that the Democrats had only used gay people to get their votes. Why Clinton signing the Defense of Marriage Act and giving the military “Don’t ask, don’t tell” didn’t wake me up, I don’t know. I realized that voting on just one issue doesn’t give one clear thinking. There is not one politician or party that is going to be everything you want. I registered as a Republican, although lately they have disappointed me enough that I just call myself conservative now. I gained a new appreciation for our military. I was raised in an Army family, but I always took that for granted too. And most importantly, I stopped taking freedom for granted. I realized what a precious gift it is and how hard you must fight to keep it. It has become the most important thing in my life next to God. He first gave it to us and our Founding Fathers reminded us what that entails.
So today I remember those who were lost and pray for those left behind. I pray for our troops who have some of my own family in those ranks. And most of all I say proudly, “God bless America!”