A Day of Remembrance

Michael F. Nozzolio

September 11, 2009

On September 11th, as we pause to reflect on this defining moment in our Nation's history, we can look back with pride on the sacrifices, commitment and dedication of the thousands of Americans who answered the call to duty on that fateful day. Thousands of men and women, many working 24 hour shifts, helped to free those still trapped under the debris. Volunteers helped to provide the rescuers with food, water and shelter while others donated time, resources and money to the recovery efforts. It was a day that forever changed the way we look at the world. It made us reflect on what we take for granted in America. It made us hold our families closer. It made us appreciate the sacrifices that so many have made and continue to make for the sake of our freedom.

Whether it is a member of our armed forces serving their Country, a volunteer fireman, the emergency medical personnel in your community or the members of our law enforcement, these peoples are heroes. While most are too humble to give themselves the title of “hero”, the sacrifices that they have made and continue to make to protect our safety and well being is nothing short of heroic. They have each made the choice to become a part of something greater than themselves and they have put the needs of others above all else, including their own safety. These individuals risk life and limb to protect us. They are the true heroes of today and words cannot adequately express the gratitude and appreciation that our Country owes to them.

Just a few weeks ago we witnessed the tragic death of two volunteer fire fighters from the Buffalo area. These brave men risked their lives to go back into a burning building to search for more victims in the fire. When the floor of the building collapsed, there was sadly no way to reach them. Their death reminds us of how fragile life is and of the unbelievable dedication and commitment that our public servants exhibit each and every day.

On this day, we must also remember that we owe tremendous thanks and gratitude to those who have served our Country in the past, as their unwavering commitment to freedom is the reason that we have the right to stand up and voice our opinions and openly celebrate our diverse views. Their challenges were always great and their response always greater. The millions of Americans who sleep safely at night have these individuals to thank for defending our liberty.

 I’ve often said that a person is a hero not for what they do, but for what they would do. And I know there is nothing that our service men and women, our firemen, police officers or our emergency rescue personnel would not do to protect their community or serve their Country. As we remember our heroes, those past and present, let's also make it a point to reach out and thank those who serve our communities and pray for those who continue to serve our Nation abroad.