This Sept. 11, let’s never forget the faces of freedom
At 8:46 a.m. on Sept. 11, 2001, the world forever changed.
We all remember where we were on that beautiful autumn morning. Some people were sitting at their desks reading emails; others were in the car listening to the radio; still others saw the news while enjoying cups of coffee in their kitchens. We all watched as one skyscraper disintegrated into ash, and then another. Our country was under attack.
Some of us knew people who lived in New York or worked at the Pentagon or were planning on taking a flight that morning. Some of us didn’t. Either way, the faces of those running from the terror were the faces of our fellow Americans. The faces on “Missing” posters and the tearful faces of those carrying those posters were the faces of our fellow Americans. From that moment forward, in spite of our differences, our nation joined together—united—in the name of democracy.
Suddenly, the United States was fighting a war on foreign lands. We started to see new faces, the faces of the brave men and women from across this great country who stepped forward to fight those who attacked us. We continue to see the faces of those who fought and still fight to protect our rights, our democracy and to protect us all.
Since 2001, more than 30,000 men and women from Wisconsin stepped up to fight terrorism during Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation New Dawn; more than 100 of these brave men and women gave the ultimate sacrifice.
To these men and women, and their families, we owe a debt of gratitude. Whether it is a simple thank you, a standing ovation, or access to benefits such as free tuition at one of our state’s great colleges or universities, we must do all we can to support our veterans and military personnel.
This Sept. 11, we will all remember where we were that day. The horrible images of terror and grief-filled faces will be forever burned in our minds. But let us also remember the faces of those 30,000 men and women who stood up for our freedom. Let us take a moment to remember our service members, especially those who made the ultimate sacrifice; let us take a moment to remember our many faces of freedom.
John A. Scocos is secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs. He is an Iraq War veteran. Phone (608) 266.1311; email Headquarters@dva.wisconsin.gov; website www.WisVets.com.