Remembering September 11, Committing to Defend Freedom

On that day 15 years ago, we understood what it meant to be an American.

September 8, 2016

Fifteen years ago, an event took place in our nation that no one old enough to remember will ever forget. For most of us, the memory of that Tuesday morning is all too clear—the day we saw our country, our values, and our fellow Americans violently attacked.

On September 11, 2001, we collectively felt the pain and grief that many of us had only heard about—and tried not to imagine. That day, we understood evil, loss, and sacrifice. We also understood what it meant to be an American, as people of all ages, races, genders, and faiths pulled together to heal and rebuild.

Today, fifteen years later, it is more important than ever to keep the sacrifices of our fellow Americans—including first responders and members of our military who, without flinching, leapt into action, many of them making the ultimate sacrifice—alive in our memories.

As Ronald Reagan said of the fallen heroes of D-Day, we must also say of the heroes of 9/11, “We will always remember . . . that we may always be free.”

Moreover, we must not forget the unity that bonded us with our fellow countrymen that day as we put aside our differences to work together for our nation—and we must not forget the very freedoms that allowed us to do just that.

What freedoms allowed Americans to gather en masse and show support for the direct victims of the September 11th terrorist attacks? What freedoms allowed Americans to gather in cities across the nation holding multi-faith prayer vigils and memorial services?

The freedoms our Founders gave us in the First Amendment of the Constitution, including the free exercise of religion.

Friends of First Liberty, in honor of the memory of the Americans who fell on September 11, let us “always remember.” And in remembering, let us renew our commitment to protect those freedoms that allow us to join in unity with our fellow Americans. Only if we learn to truly value our freedoms, including our religious freedom, can we continue to do so—and ensure that the deadly attacks and noble sacrifices of years past are not forgotten.

To the rest of the world, America beckons as one of the last bastions of freedom. But sadly, we have also seen many of our citizens neglect or even question the very freedoms and values that make America unique in the world. Those freedoms and values must be defended, even in our own society, with steadfast resoluteness.

Let us resolve to remember. May our respect for those fallen lives swell, our love for our foundational freedom and values deepen, and our resolution to defend them—in every arena where they are contested—continue to grow.

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