Thursday, September 11, 2014

The Spirit Of America

Photo credit:  Ethan Miller/Las Vegas Sun
Edmund Burke once said, “He that wrestles with us strengthens our nerves and sharpens our skill.  Our antagonist is our helper.”  Burke lived during the 18th Century and is remembered primarily for his support of the cause of the American Revolutionary War and the thirteen colonies that were struggling to break free of the British Empire.

Today, America wrestles with the filthy heresy of Islam and the Muslims who wish to do us harm.

On September 12, 2001 the spirit of America awoke from its slumber.  The American flag began to fly everywhere we looked to show defiance against the terrorists.  The sight of Old Glory was a rallying cry for a wounded nation.

NBC’s Tom Brokaw commented, “Almost as soon as the Twin Towers came down the flags went up.  They began to grow in every crevice of America.  Someone said the sight of them is like countless bandages of patriotism covering a nation’s wounds.”

Around 5:00 PM on September 11, 2001 Daniel Williams, a NYFD firefighter saw the American flag attached to a yacht that was docked on the Hudson River and grabbed it. On his walk back to Ground Zero, Williams was joined by fellow firefighters George Johnson and William “Billy” Eisengrein.  The three spotted a flagpole about 20 feet above street level and climbed up to raise the flag as photographer Thomas E. Franklin captured the image.

The image captured by Franklin, a staff photographer for The Record in Bergen County, N.J., was quickly picked up by national newspapers, magazines and television networks. Many felt it was reminiscent of Joe Rosenthal’s imageof the Marines raising the flag on Iwo Jima during World War II.

A picture that was snapped on September 12, 2001 by Las Vegas Sun photographer Ethan Miller captured the image of a little 3-year-old girl sitting on her dad’s shoulders at a candlelight vigil at the Thomas & Mack Center.  Miller struggled to get the picture he knew would be “special.”

"There was that one moment when she lifted her other hand and then the flag unfurled—I got one frame off as she did that, and that was the photo. The little girl looked up at the same time that she raised her hand and her eyes caught the light.  All of these sad adults were around her, and she looked so innocent" as she lifted her eyes skyward as if “beseeching the help of a higher power,” said Miller.

The hope of a nation was captured in that moment.  The picture of little Alana Milawski is without a doubt my favorite iconic image of September 11th.

We don’t see flags flying from porches or lining the streets of America like we did 13 years ago.  Seeing that picture again has inspired me to do something I should have done years ago. Tomorrow I will buy a 20-foot in-ground flagpole complete with eagle ornament.  I’ve already called my handyman to arrange for its installation. 

Maybe I can inspire my neighbors to fly Old Glory too.  I think I’ll visit my neighborhood Walmart and purchase a handful of flag pole sets and pass them out.  Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the demand for flags would soar again to bolster a nation’s morale and the sight of flags once again began to grow in every crevice of America?

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