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Neighbor to Neighbor: 9/11 brought bravery, ingenuity, humanity

Although we would all like to forget that 9/11/01 ever happened, we must face facts. It did happen.

We have had to deal with what we have been dealt. Now that the “one-year-after” is approaching, how would you, as a participant/observer in the life of our communities, our city, state and country, assess how well we have educated ourselves about emergency situations?

Please understand, I don’t mean only an emergency of the magnitude of 9/11/01, but we should all recall the spectacular bravery, ingenuity and humane responses that were recorded for history on that day and ever since by so many. As the terror was unfolding, it did not only seem a matter of self-survival since good Samaritans seemed to be everywhere.

However, a few people, (a very few, thankfully), sought to benefit themselves illegally and immorally. If they have not yet been caught, I hope they will be and soon because they are a blot on society. Too many good people sacrificed to save, to honor, and to strengthen and build while those few miscreants tried to block the progress of good over evil. Shame on them and on any others who are planning to try in the future.

Unfortunately, they will probably never change, as evidenced by those who refuse to get out of the way of emergency vehicles, who refuse to cooperate during water and power emergencies, and who continue to create traffic hazards by parking illegally. Contrary to their favorite quote, “Laws were made to be broken,” laws were made to be obeyed!

Equally important, I believe, we must all try to retain the spirit of respect for the rights of everyone who truly tries to “live by the rules.” Laws of old that were not right were fought and changed, bringing different factions better understanding of each other. We found in each other (as diamond cutters do). that when we are individually considered a facet of humanity, when each facet is polished, the overall finished product produces a most valuable brilliant gem. It has taken many years of hard work and understanding to accomplish this.

Some of us have learned that we can sometimes disagree with each other and still not be disagreeable. Laws can, and often are, changed. The problem lies in the fact that there are those unwilling to change them legally. There are those-who, in their determination to get what they want as rapidly as possible, would even be willing to go the route of sedition.

To those I would say, remember that once a precious, sparkling diamond is crushed, its value is so greatly diminished that it is good for perhaps an industrial abrasive and nothing more.

In the past, our country survived against sometimes very great external odds. I can speak personally of World War II, because I lived through those very trying times. They were hard for everyone particularly, of course, those who were in the military, or had loved ones in the armed services. Everyone whom I knew made whatever sacrifices were necessary and did so with little or no complaint. We wanted no “divide and conquer” to take place within our country, and I hope everyone in this time of crisis will hold that course steady as well.

All too often since 9/11/01, there have been some who have proclaimed those attacks the fault of the United States. What other country shares its education system, its bountiful food supplies, its medical expertise and its human resources in times of need as much as ours? How many ancestors of those living here today would have benefited more by returning to their homelands when they had an opportunity to do so. I think not many, if any at all.

Each of us should look in the mirror sometime each day and be grateful for what we have. If you hate what you have, and hate those of us who love this country and our law-abiding neighbors, we will wish you well as you leave for your own paradise. If you choose to stay, however, appreciate and be willing to protect this country from its hate monger enemies.

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