Winsted-Lester Prairie Journal, Sept. 24, 2001

Our hearts are heavy, yet we hold our heads high


"On Monday there were people fighting against praying in schools; on Tuesday you would have been hard pressed to find a school where someone was not praying;

"On Monday there were people trying to separate each other by race, sex, color, and creed; on Tuesday they were all holding hands;

"On Monday we thought that we were secure; on Tuesday we learned better;

"On Monday we were talking about heroes as being athletes; on Tuesday we relearned what being a 'hero' really meant;

"On Monday people went to work at the world trade centers as usual; on Tuesday they died;

"On Monday people were fighting the 10 commandments on government property; on Tuesday the same people said, 'God help us all' while thinking, 'Thou shall not kill;'

"On Monday people argued with their kids about picking up their rooms; on Tuesday the same people could not get home fast enough to hug their kids;

"On Monday people picked up McDonald's for dinner; on Tuesday they stayed home;

"On Monday people were upset that their dry cleaning was not ready on time; on Tuesday they were lining up to give blood for the dying;

"On Monday politicians argued about budget surpluses; on Tuesday, grief stricken, they sang 'God Bless America;'

"On Monday we worried about the traffic and getting to work late; on Tuesday we worried about a plane crashing into our house or place of business;

"On Monday we were irritated that our rebate checks had not arrived; on Tuesday we saw people celebrating people dying in the USA;

"On Monday some children had solid families; on Tuesday they were orphans;

"On Monday the president was going to Florida to read to children; on Tuesday he returned to Washington to protect our children;

"On Monday we emailed jokes; on Tuesday we did not."

- Author unknown

Considering the trauma that our country has gone through in the last two weeks, I'd like to write my column this week on something that I have never seen as strongly as I see now - our pride in our country.

In my lifetime, I don't recall ever feeling the pride in our country as intensely as I do now. I've always been proud to be an American, as have most citizens. But now, as I look around, I see the unity that will keep us strong.

Flags are sold out all across the country. People have raided their fourth of July decorations to display signs of support and to symbolize our mourning for the innocent Americans that were murdered in New York.

We see people rushing to donate blood, money, and any other types of support that they can, to help the victims of this tragedy. We have seen candles burning in windows and in parks, as a symbol of our loss.

I watched President Bush's speech last Thursday, and couldn't help but notice that the people in attendance spent much of their time on their feet, applauding the words of our leader.

And soon we may be at war.

In my lifetime, I have never lost a family member or friend to war. There are many in our communities that haven't been as fortunate, and have lost someone special in service to our country. I can only imagine how close this hits to home for them.

The fact that our country could be going to war hits especially close to home for me, because my husband is a member of the National Guard. And, although I am scared of war for selfish reasons, I know that we have to do what we have to do.

My hope is that if war does become inevitable, we will be able to get the job done quickly. What saddens me is the fact that we have no choice but to do what we need to do.

I am also saddened by the people that were so brainwashed that they sacrificed their own lives to destroy the lives of others.

I am sickened that the leaders of the terrorist group sacrificed their own, as if they are so easily expendable. In our country, there are no expendable citizens, and all casualties are a tragedy. Yet another reason that I am proud.

What I am struggling with the most is that I just don't understand why. Why? I don't get it, and don't understand what exactly we are hated for.

What I do understand, however, is that I see the American citizens standing together like I've never seen in my lifetime. I see people helping each other, and standing as one.

We are strong and in the end, we will win. Of this there is no doubt.

God bless America.

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