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“Let’s roll” Those are the last known words of Todd Beamer, a passenger on United Flight 93, which was hijacked as part of the September 11 attacks in 2001. During the time of that flight two planes had crashed into the World Trade Center in New York and a third plane had crashed into the Pentagon. A story you all know too well.
A patriot is defined as someone who boldly supports their country and is willing to defend it against enemies and detractors.
Confronting those terrorists who hijacked the plane, Todd Beamer embodied the definition of a patriot by his actions that day. While he has become the most notable, he was not alone. There were many patriots on Flight 93 that day; to include fellow passengers and the flight crew. Their actions stopped the hijackers from reaching their intended target, believed to have been the White House. Instead the plane crashed in an empty field in Pennsylvania killing everyone on board.
"All across the country patriots answered the call, helping fellow Americans, even at the cost of their own lives.
All across the country patriots answered the call, helping fellow Americans, even at the cost of their own lives; like the investment banker on the 104th floor of the south tower who carried a woman down 17 flights of stairs, then returned to the 78th floor to help others. He became known as “the man in the red bandana”. His body was later found in one of the stairwells alongside firefighters – all who sacrificed their lives for others.
Just as in times past, patriots have chosen to stand and answer the call. A few are well known, such as, Pat Tillman. However, most are only known by a few: they are our friends, our neighbors, our fathers, our mothers, our sons and our daughters.
The last decade and a half has largely been defined by the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. This fight though has taken us to all corners of the globe: Syria, Africa, the Philippines and many other places. We face a determined enemy, capable of conducting well-coordinated attacks and determined to remind us of that. Let us not forget the September 11 attack of 2012 in Benghazi. And the escalation of attacks in Afghanistan that have cost two soldiers their lives recently.
Todd Beamer was not a soldier; he was not a police officer or a firefighter. He was someone who loved his country and believed it was worth fighting for: a patriot.
Today we remember the events that brought us into this fight, we remember those whose lives were taken that day, we remember those who sought out this evil and faced it, even at the cost of their own lives. Today we lift up those still in the fight, we pray for strength, courage and the resolve to finish the fight.
May the Lord bless you and keep you safe.
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