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Michael E. Angier

By Michael Angier

Freedom Under Attack—What We Can Do

September 11, 2002
It’s hard to believe that a whole year has passed. Sometimes it’s even hard to believe that it happened at all. I can only imagine how much it must seem like a bad dream to those who lost family members and close friends on that day and in the war on terrorism.

It’s been said by many that the world changed on September 11th. I suppose it did. But the fact is, we’ve always lived in a dangerous world. Most of us have lived our entire lives under the threat of nuclear Armageddon. Evil has always existed, and freedom will always be in jeopardy.

The attack by the Al Qaeda demonstrated in a dramatic way that even the most powerful country in the world is vulnerable to attack. It was a wakeup call to the realization that the enemies of freedom are alive and well-organized.

Make no mistake; our freedom is very much under attack. And regardless of whether or not you’re an American, your freedom, too, is at risk. It’s the age-old fight of good vs. evil.

We owe a lot to those who died on September 11th and all those who have gone before them who paid—and paid dearly—for the freedom we enjoy.

But what can we do? As we read about the heroes of 9/11, most of us recognize that we can’t all be like them. And perhaps that’s true.

But there IS something we can do.

If we want to truly honor those who died—those who gave their lives, those who lost their loved ones—there is most definitely something we can do to make a difference.

And how we choose to serve will vary depending upon the individual. If you search your heart, you’ll come to know what it is you should do to achieve your unique potential.

If you’re an entrepreneur, build a business—or build a bigger and better one. If you’re a doctor, be the best you can be. If you serve people, serve them well. Let your contribution make your community and the world a better place.

If you’re a parent, be a more COMPASSIONATE parent. If you’re a neighbor, be a truly GOOD neighbor. If you’re a teacher, be the BEST teacher you can be. If you’re a writer, be an INSPIRING writer. No matter what your role, carry out it out with pride and excellence.

Live every part of your life with integrity and honor. Be someone who cares about things that matter—someone COMMITTED to making a difference.

Let your work and your life be a masterpiece.

None of those killed on September 11th went to work thinking that it would be their last day. What would you be remembered for if you were one of the unfortunate ones killed that fateful day? Have you prepared to leave a legacy?  

I believe this is what the more than three thousand people who died a year ago would want from us.

They would want us to go on. They would want us to strengthen our community. They would want us to build a better nation. They would want us to create a safer world. They would want us to be more aware and better educated and to educate others.

They would want us to spend our brief time on this planet in ways that would exemplify the best of human nature, the very best that’s within us.

They would want us to follow our dreams.

The world is made better by people with the courage to go after their dreams. After all, it was a dream that created freedom and democracy. ALL great things have been the result of someone following their dream. And when we follow our dreams, we inspire others to do the same.

There are problems to solve, inequities to right, people who need help, inventions that need to be made, things that need fixing, people who need teaching, sick who need care and downhearted who need encouragement.

Not sure where to start? Just pick one and start there. You can’t go wrong doing good works. Eventually you’ll find something that fires your spirit with enthusiasm. You’ll know when you’re on the right road.

It’s incumbent upon each of us to make the best use of the talents and abilities we have. The times demand it. We must be responsible. We must be accountable. We owe it to ourselves and to those who’ll come after us to overcome evil with greatness. Our very freedom is at stake.  

Let us never become complacent. Let us never rest upon what we’ve achieved. Let us always remember that we can easily lose what we have. When you get discouraged, think about the heroes of 9/11 and the courage they demonstrated. Remember the words to the Billy Ray Cyrus song, “All gave some, some gave all.” 

Freedom has never been cheap or easy. To expect that it will become so is naïve.

But some of the ways we fight for our freedom may have changed. We will build upon and keep our freedoms by being strong—economically, ethically and spiritually. We must be healthy, well-educated and prosperous. We must do so individually, as a nation and as a world community.

Invest in the time and thinking necessary to determine where you are best-suited to serve. Then, get to work—with the passion, courage and commitment that your dream deserves.

In this way, we can truly commemorate ALL those who have sacrificed for our freedom. We will have repelled the attack and we will honor and give tribute to the victims and heroes of 9/11.

In the words of Todd Beamer, “Let’s roll!”

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"When the freedom they wished for most was freedom from responsibility, then Athens ceased to be free and was never free again.”
—Edith Hamilton, historian


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Last Updated 01/30/2004