Sunday, June 30, 2013

July 4, 1776

As we approach the anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence it is a good time to reflect on not only the founding of our nation, but on the founders-the men who wrote that document. Volumes have been written about these men and the debates that went on behind the scenes. This July 4th also represents the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg. Again volumes have been written about the men from both sides who fought this monumental battle. Both Philadelphia and Gettysburg will be loaded with tourists and historians over this next week. Not too far from both sites is a national park whose history is much more recent. On September 11th, the nation will pause to remember all the citizens lost in New York City, Washington D. C. and in a field in rural Pennsylvania. In an e-mail I received yesterday from National Park ranger Adam Shaffer the Flight 93 Memorial has had great crowds this summer-including bikers, motorcycle groups, tour buses, and citizens like you and me. Holidays are about families, time off from work, and likely a picnic or two. It should also be a time to pause and reflect on not only the founding of our nation, but also some of the events that have almost crumbled that foundation. 9/11 was just one of those days. Besides the event of the crashing of United 93 near Shanksville, Pennsylvania it would be appropriate to remember the 40 brave heroes aboard that flight. The crew and passengers made decisions that day that saved other lives. Their plane did not make it to its intended target. It is interesting to visit the Memorial and see their names on the white panels that make up the impressive memorial. I encourage you to research those individuals. Each and every one of them has a fascinating story. I have mentioned the book Among the Heroes by Jere Longman many times on this blog as well as the film United 93. There are also numerous documentaries and the NPS website as well. As you take time to reflect this week remember those men and women, but not just this week.

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