9-11: A reminder of past horrors, present dangers and a time to celebrate heroism in America

By Duane Miller, The Proud Americans

Memorial Day honors those who died fighting wars for our freedom. Veterans Day is a celebration of America's veterans for their patriotism and willingness to sacrifice for the common good.

9-11 is different. Not a holiday, but an important reminder of the dangers presented by extremists and how we must remain vigilant to defeat an intolerant enemy, who will stop at nothing to kill those with different views or religious practices.

But more than that, we believe, it should be a day to celebrate both the American spirit and the true heroes of our time. It is a day to remember those who exhibited heroism in the face of great danger.

Fire fighters, police officers and not-so-ordinary citizens gave their lives helping others in New York and D.C. Passengers on Flight 93 fought to save others, knowing it would mean their own end. Our military took the fight overseas and many lost their lives so we could be safe at home.

All shared a common love for their country and their fellow citizens. 9-11 will always bring us together as a country. The partisan division of our country is set aside, as we remember that our citizens and country showed incredible resolve, courage and strength. We were taken to our knees, then we lifted ourselves up, and moved forward.

We will never forget what happened on that day, and we should never forget what makes this country great. The American spirit is alive and well.

There’s the story of Welles Crowther, the mystery man in the red bandana. At the age of 24, this brave and giving soul continually put himself in harm’s way to help those trapped on the upper floors of the South Tower of the World Trade Center. An equities trader by day and a part-time firefighter, he saved many lives.

One trapped woman, Ling Young, was rescued by this brave young man, carrying a woman on his back and a red bandana in his hand.

"All of a sudden, I heard a gentleman come out of the corner saying, 'I found the stairs, follow me and only help who you can help'" said Young, who has a photo of Crowther in her home and still talks to his parents. “Without him…I would not be here.”

Crowther would later die saving others when the South Tower collapsed.

There was the more famous hero, Todd Beamer, who issued the famous words “Let’s roll” when he and other passengers on the doomed Flight 93 fought to the death and saved countless lives in the process.

One thing some people may not know: Beamer said a prayer with the phone operator, quoting the 23rd Psalm of the Bible. He was able to give himself comfort by embracing his God. There must be a special place in Heaven for this man.

As an Association, The Proud Americans never forgets what America was founded on. There are so many things to love about America. However, there is nothing that stirs our pride in America more than these and many other examples of heroism on 9-11 and beyond. Be proud, America, be proud.

Duane Miller is COO of The Proud Americans (www.theproudamericans.org), an organization that serves people 50 and over by providing meaningful benefits, savings and services to promote health for its members, protect their wealth, and proclaim the traditional values that made this country great. Contact: 1-855-60-PROUD (77683)