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Recovery and Remembrance

Global warming? Climate change? Or just unprecedented, catastrophic weather? No matter if you’re along the Gulf Coast or living in the West Branch Valley one thing is dramatically obvious, the weather has become much more intense and violent. And no, I am not trying to compare our weather to that which hit Texas. God help us if we ever get over 4 feet of rain like many areas of the Texas Gulf Coast region received.

It always makes me proud how our Great Nation responds to tragedy. Whether it be Hurricane Harvey and the brutal forces of Mother Nature or the cowardly terrorist acts perpetrated against America on 9/11, the great American spirit and how we come together as One Nation Under God in the face of adversity is nothing short of remarkable.

The outpouring of love and support to those affected by Harvey just continues to grow. The response by emergency personnel and volunteers during the storm saved thousands of lives. How much better prepared our Country was than after Hurricane Katrina. Remember, almost 2,000 individuals lost their lives at the hands of Katrina and the Federal government was slow to respond.

Harvey was the greatest storm in American history. There is no doubt the American people will answer with the greatest recovery in American history. It’s not going to happen overnight, however. This will be the most costly natural disaster ever recorded.

Volunteers and donations continue to pour into the region from all walks of life. It was very honorable that President Trump pledged $1 million out of his own pocket towards recovery efforts. His caring and response to the disaster has been much better as our Commander-in-Chief than President George W. Bush’s response to New Orleans.

Say a prayer for those affected and help in whatever manner you can. As always be certain who your donation is made to, only give to those organizations known to be reputable.

I can remember that bright blue sky and early sunshine like it was only yesterday. It could not have been a more beautiful late summer morning. It would soon become the day that would forever change our Great Country. The safety and isolation from the problems of the World we felt here at home lost in a New York City second. The protection of our homeland borders erased by evil. It’s still very difficult to comprehend, and I have caught myself in moments of disbelief — did that really happen or was it just a bad dream? It’s hard to believe 16 years have gone by since our Nation’s second day of infamy.

At 8:46 a.m. American Airlines Flight 11 slammed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center. America was under attack by a borderless enemy. The words Al Qaeda, Osama bin Laden, Taliban, Islamic extremists, jihad, and terrorism were about to become commonplace in America.

Shortly after 9 a.m. United Flight 175 slices through the South Tower of the World Trade Center. I’m sure as you’re reading this visions of this cowardly act burn within your memory. This ends any speculation the first attack was an accident or would be the only attack of the day.

Some of the most horrific visions stuck in my mind are those of innocent people who were just going to work on a peaceful September morning now jumping to their death because the Hell they were trapped in was much worse.

As the World Trade Centers burn and the world watches, the Pentagon becomes the next target. American Airlines Flight 77 is used as a missile into the Washington, D.C. morning. Remember the fear as you thought — What is next? Our Nation is under attack!

We should’ve seen the next event coming, but like the Titanic, no one thought the World Trade Centers would go down. At 9:59, with every news camera locked on it, the South Tower collapses. The evil terror of the day just reached a much more sinister level.

The Islamic extremists got more than they bargained for on American Airlines Flight 93. Americans fight back! The war on terror begins. The words of Todd Beamer forever heard in a most patriotic way “Are you guys ready? Let’s roll!” Pennsylvania soil is now the crash site of a plane intended to bring terror to the White House, the Capitol Building, or who knows what those evil jihadis intended. At 10:28 a.m. the North Tower goes down in that almost demolition like precision.

In an hour and 42 minutes, almost 3,000 lives were lost to Islamic terrorism. The fallen include 343 New York City firefighters who gave their lives trying to save as many folks as they could, 23 NYPD police officers, and 37 Port Authority police officers who also went to help Americans on the worst day in American history.

We will never know the true toll 9/11 took on our Great Nation. I don’t even want to talk about the financial numbers. They just do not seem to matter in regards to what this day and event are about. These heinous images, memories, and yes all the video footage, needs to burn in our American hearts and minds forever. We cannot ever underestimate what evil can be brought upon our Nation.

Our Nation must stay on the cutting edge of world intelligence, military strength, and be aware of the evil that terrorists and other countries want to bring upon us. This is the only way to preserve life, liberty, and happiness for our children, our children’s children, and the United States of America.
A Tip of the USA cap to Tom “Tank” Baird and the 9/11 Memorial coalition. It’s amazing how time keeps on slipping into the future. This year being the 16th Ride of Remembrance for those lost during the horrific terrorist acts of 9/11 and also military personnel who gave all in the War on Terror that has followed.

Get out in support of the event in whatever way possible. To me, it has also become a day of celebration of the American spirit and all that is great about our Nation. A full schedule of the day’s events can be found on page 6.

Please be extra careful of all those participating in the ride, that’s a lot of motorcycles, and it grows every year. Be extra mindful before and after the event especially as all those patriotic riders travel to and from their homes.

God Bless and Protect America.

Jim Webb

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