I’m going to stick my neck out and say something that some might consider inappropriate for this day, the anniversary of 9/11/2001.
We all know the history of 9/11 and what happened on this day in 2001. We also know why it is called Patriot’s Day and why President George W. Bush and Congress thought it appropriate to name this day Patriot’s Day.
They were wrong.
Today is not Patriot’s Day and what happened on 9/11 was not a patriotic thing. What happened on that fateful day was the willful slaughter of thousands of innocent Americans who were going to work that day like they would any other day. Some worked in an office, some wore badges, some carried wrenches, but all were just men and women, regular people, going to work.
What happened on 9/11 was a massive group and individual showing of bravery by the men and women tasked with responding to emergencies such as what happened at the Twin Towers on that sad day in our history.
Those people were not Patriots, they were Heroes. Patriots are those who fight for their country, whether with words, deeds, or both. Heroes are those who put themselves at risk in order to save others whose lives are already at risk.
On 9/11/2001, Heroes ran to the rescue of those who were in peril.
On 9/11/2001, people who normally would consider a good game of racquetball or getting on the subway after 10pm to be a nerve-rending event were called, instead, to care for wounded and bloody co-workers, to carry the injured down smoky stairwells, or otherwise commit acts of bravery beyond what any worker in the Twin Towers ever imagined themselves being required to do. Heroes responded to an event that occurred without warning, heedless of the danger to themselves as they helped their fellow man.
Patriots, by contrast, amassed in Lexington Square on April 19 in 1775 and decided to tell their oppressors, once and for all, that they weren’t going to stand for the tyranny any longer. Patriots, on that day, fought and died for their beliefs and their country.
The biggest difference between a Hero and a Patriot is the thought behind the actions taken. A Hero must decide in a split second whether they are to be a hero or a coward. A Patriot has time to consider the options and decide the best course of action to achieve the goals that will save his or her ideals.
Neither is better or worse than the other. Both require a strong inner resolve and a dedication to the welfare of others. Heroes are required to be reactionary, ready to respond right away and to not worry about putting their lives on the line to help others. Patriots are required to be strategists who put their lives on the line when it will cause the most harm to the enemy.
9/11 is Heroes Day. A day when true American Heroes showed that no matter how soft the world thinks we are, no matter how compliant the enemies of this country might believe us to be, there are always plenty of Americans who’re willing to jump in to do what needs to be done. To do what’s right.
Hopefully we can count on those Heroes amongst us today to also be Patriots. Because the time is coming when the job of Heroes will take a back seat and the role of the Patriot will need to be filled.
Today, we remember the Heroes. Take your hat off and pray for those Heroes who didn’t make it. Tomorrow, I hope you’ll then look to your flag, your rifle, and your resolve and remind yourself that our country needs Patriots now more than ever.
Got comments? Email me, dammit!
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