It's been a year since America was attacked at home.
Oblivious to the evil, Americans went about their daily routines -- traffic jammed, Starbucks coffees were sipped and golf balls went flying, but as America looked up they saw vacant sky where two towers of the World Trade Center stood, holes in the sky where two planes dropped from sight in Washington, D.C., and above a field in Pennsylvania.
The images of United Flight 175 with 65 people on board striking the south tower in a ball of flame, the crumbling towers and the flailing falling bodies are forever burned into my mind -- but more so they are burned into my heart.
I ache for those who lost their fathers, mothers, wives, girlfriends, boyfriends, brothers, sisters, friends, co-workers, next-door neighbors. I ache for the families of the firefighters and police officers and America.
The events of Sept. 11 are a tragedy like no other on American soil. Though 2,395 people died Dec. 7, 1941, at Pearl Harbor, most of those who died in the halls of the World Trade Center, the offices of the Pentagon and the aisles of United Flight 93 made the ultimate sacrifice -- to die for one's country -- without benefit of the contract held by those whose sacrifice was made in Hawaii, or on the battle fields of the Civil War.
The men and women at Pearl Harbor and in the Civil War made a decision, many in the midst of war, to fight for their country. When the Pearl Harbor victims and survivors joined the U.S. Army, the U.S. Navy and U.S. Marines they and their families had at least a kernel of fear in their hearts that their sons and daughters may not return. The same can be said of those who donned the blue and the gray.
When the victims of Sept. 11 chose the pink blouse or the white oxford shirt they had no warning, no contract, had made no decision about dying for their country.
Most probably believed there'd be dinner at 8 p.m. in their world.
Because of this they must be remembered -- always.
It is not enough to celebrate patriotism on Sept. 11, July 4, May 30, June 14, Nov. 11 and Dec. 7. And for those who do not know these dates by heart, shame on you!
To forget would mean the loss of life -- the death of the grandfathers, grandmothers, husbands, fiancees, best friends, aunts and uncles -- was not worthy of note.
The 3- and 4-year-olds who witnessed the tragedy from the windows of their living rooms remember. So must we.
Though you may tire of the media barrage this week, the repeated scenes of Sept. 11, 2001 should never leave our memory, our hearts nor our determination to root out the evil behind the events waver.
We must wholeheartedly support our troops as they are sent abroad to fight for freedom.
They have signed a contract. The agreement may call for them to make the ultimate sacrifice. It won't do for us at home protected by their efforts to have to dust off our flags or rewrite the Pledge of Allegiance.
Kelli Du Fresne is features editor of the Nevada Appeal and was wearing red, white and blue when she wrote this.
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