Patriot Day Message


Where were you on 9/11?

Where were you on 9/11? If you’re like me, you can remember exactly where you were and what you were doing on September 11, 2001. It was a life-changing day for me.

I was at a conference for financial planners in Salt Lake City. Lesly called me and told me to turn on the TV. Along with all Americans, I was shocked to see what was happening in New York City, Pennsylvania, and Washington DC. 

I left the conference immediately and headed home. As you recall, all flights were grounded, so I quickly rented a car for the one-way trip back to Las Vegas. Driving home and not seeing airplane vapor trails in the sky was an eerie feeling. My thoughts were about the safety of my family and what the future might bring.

My oldest son, Steven, had just turned 16 and was starting his junior year in High School. A few years later, he left a full scholarship at Brigham Young University to join the Army. He volunteered to learn Arabic knowing he would be sent to Iraq.

Although I had been out of the Army for twelve years, I rejoined so that I could serve with my son. Shortly afterward, Steven and I both deployed to Iraq. It was an honor for me to serve on the field of battle with my own son. It was terrifying for Lesly. For the entire year we were gone, she flew a flag with two blue stars outside our house.

Fortunately, Steven and I returned home with only minor physical injuries. Steven still carries some disturbing memories of the things he saw and experienced. Many Soldiers and First Responders gave their lives during and after 9/11. 

For a while, we were united as Americans. Neighbors looked out for each other while family members were deployed. The political parties paused their bickering. News programs reported the facts without bias. We came together as a nation to protect and serve each other. It was a tragic event, but our unity as a country was heartwarming.

I’m proud to be an American. I love our country and all the good we do in the world. I hope and pray that it will not take another tragedy for us to come together once again as a Nation. Instead of exaggerating our differences, let us look for the many things which unite us. Things like family, freedom, opportunity, and the privilege and blessing of being citizens of the greatest country in the history of the world.

I pray that we will live in such a way that God will continue to bless America – the land that we love.

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