As I am writing this on Sunday, Sept. 11, and many different and conflicting emotions are running through my head and heart.

I am sitting on my porch on a beautiful sunny Florida afternoon and remembering the avalanche of emotions I felt on that Tuesday morning over 20 years ago when the unthinkable happened in our wonderful United States of America.

Our country faced a day of unparalleled disaster but also of totally unique courage, patriotism, and bravery all at the same time. It was like no other day; and hopefully, like no other day will ever be again. Please, dear God!

The events of that day are etched/burned into this writer’s mind in a way that cannot even be described. Watching the Twin Towers, the Pentagon, the events in that field in rural Pennsylvania are surreal even today … over 20 years later.

I saw the second plane strike after watching what had happened only minutes before. I was stunned, bewildered, shocked – and then horrendously angry at what was happening.

This could not be true in our magnificent America!

I immediately phoned my “military wife” daughter at her place of business in Jacksonville, Florida, because I knew there were other “military wives and children” there with her at her Gymboree Play/Learn Room. She was as shocked as we all were.

She immediately turned the television on so that all those military families were watching the events as they happened. It was stunned silence with muffled sobs. Kindred spirits were watching and praying together.

My U.S. Navy helicopter search and rescue pilot son-in-law had been deployed for the previous six months to the Arabian Sea. They were headed home, but immediately turned around and went right back for another two months of protecting our American way of life.

From all walks of life, American patriots emerged that fateful day. We became ONE NATION working together for all those values that we had taken so for granted over the years.

Heroes all…those folks, the first responders in New York City, the responders and military at the Pentagon and the passengers on board that airplane in Pennsylvania. All these heroes jumped into action immediately with no consideration for their own personal danger. They did what they knew they had to do.

God, bless all of them for all eternity.

In the following weeks and months, stores were flooded with requests for American flags and productions of “Old Glory” and sales soared. Thankfully, we now see plenty of those red, white, and blue flags flying year round at private homes as well as in public places. We pray that the feeling of pride in our country does not wane.

We, Americans, must always be ready and willing to stand for what our country was founded to be…”the land of the free and the home of the brave.”

The second commemoration on this Sunday, Sept. 11, is that of Grandparents Day. What a complete difference from the somber feelings mentioned before.

Many are not even aware that Grandparents Day is celebrated on the second Sunday in September each year. That seems to slip by for some, but your reporter first heard about this day about 18 years ago when my “grands” surprised me with the first of what has become my yearly gorgeous flower arrangement. I keep photos of each of them to remind me just how blessed I am knowing full well that all of us “Grandparents” feel that same blessing.

So with completely different types of emotions, we remember this day for very special reasons.

The somber feeling of past tragedies and heroic actions make us proud to be Americans and to show our love for our U.S.A.

The warm emotions of the feelings of love and remembrance for our families make us equally proud of our individual families.

Please pray with me that we never–ever–forget both of these. Love of God and country and love of our individual families can and will hold us together if/when the unthinkable happens.

We pray that we never have to face these horrendous types of events again. But, if we do, we will rise and remain standing proud and willing to support and protect our God, our U.S.A. and our beloved families.

Be faithful! Be proud! Be brave!

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