Remember 9/11: We Stand for Freedom

By | September 11, 2023

[September 11, 2023]  Ten years ago, USAF Colonel Scott DeThomas, 6th Air Mobility Wing, gave a 9/11 speech that took the nation by storm.  His comments went viral and can still be appreciated today.  Here is what he said that day.  Always, Always remember 9/11.

Good morning ladies and gentlemen, and veterans from across the area.

Webster’s dictionary defines “patriot” as one who loves his or her country and supports its authority and interests.

It is an honor to be surrounded by so many patriots in the finest military community in the world.  In a state like Florida, that boasts some 20 military installations and over 1.5 million veterans, almost 400,000 that live within the Tampa Bay and surrounding counties, it is an honor to stand before you on this very somber day in American history.

Today not only marks the 12 year anniversary since American’s lives changed forever in what should be our generation’s day of infamy, but it also marks the one year anniversary as we honor those 4 patriots killed in Benghazi one year ago today.

While I sometimes start my comments with something light or funny, today I will ask you to imagine the following…Imagine you are going on vacation to Raleigh, North Carolina.  You have to pack, get the car ready and take days off work.  But then, also imagine that you have to get a visa for every single state you drive through to get to Raleigh.  Then you have to reach a checkpoint at every state at an exact time.  You also have to reach a checkpoint at your destination at a specific time, if you don’t reach the checkpoint in time you are detained.

That is a possible scenario for many countries around the world except the United States of America and it’s because of a simple concept that our country uses everyday: FREEDOM

It is what our nation’s patriots defend every single day since the Declaration of Independence was signed on July 2nd 1776, and is actually where the concept of Patriot Day first started to commemorate the first battles of the American Revolutionary War back in 1775, the battles of Lexington and Concord.

In the United States we grow up in a world where everything is based on the idea of freedom and liberty.  We know nothing else.  We don’t realize how rare the quality of freedom is until we look outside our country.  Americans are shielded from these circumstances around the world because it seems unfathomable.

However, on this day 12 years ago our country was turned upside down when a plane crashed into one of the World Trade Center towers in New York City.  At first people just thought it was an accident.  Then a second plane crashed into the other tower.  Then a third plane crashed into the Pentagon in Washington D.C… finally a fourth plane crashed in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

I think everyone here can remember exactly what they were doing at the time of the attacks.

For me, I was at my favorite barber shop in Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina where I had wandered in for a haircut.  I was a transport pilot who had just returned home from a two week road trip delivering cargo and pax around the globe.  As I sat listening to the normal barber shop banter between the customers and barbers, we were shocked to see the first aircraft hit the first of the twin towers.

As a pilot, it was difficult to fathom how this happened.  I stood in amazement and prayed for the soles on board and their families.  I proceeded to finish my haircut and headed home to find the unfolding of events that would change this world forever.

Three weeks later I would find myself flying missions from Germany in support of the innocent people of Afghanistan by airdropping foods as others toppled the Taliban…my life changed forever.

Our country bonded together that day and for months after to stand together for the one idea we grew up knowing and living everyday: freedom.

Rudolph Giuliani, the mayor of New York City at the time, even said, “the attacks of September 11th were intended to break our spirit.  Instead we have emerged stronger and more unified.  We feel renewed devotion to the principles of political, economic, and religious freedom, the rule of law and respect for human life.  We are more determined than ever to live our lives in freedom.”

It is the one word, freedom, which stands out in the quote.

And then last year the American stand for freedom was tested again.  We have the American diplomatic mission around the world to create a more secure, democratic, and prosperous world.  That mission at Benghazi in Libya was attacked on September 11, 2012 by a heavily armed group. Four Americans, who were performing that mission, died in that attack including U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens, foreign affairs officer Sean Smith, security agents and previous Navy SEALs, Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods

Your military, your United States military, stands and will continue to stand for and defend our freedom.

John F. Kennedy said during his inauguration to office:

“Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty.”

Just at the 6th Air Mobility Wing, we have over eighteen thousand whom have deployed since 2001 to defend our freedom and liberty around the world.

The date, September 11th, has many meanings but it is now known as Patriot Day and National Day of Service and Remembrance.

Remember the three thousand lives that were lost that day in 2001, the four lives lost in 2012, and the thousands more who have died defending our freedom overseas.  That day and every anniversary after that should remind us of a day that shook the United States out of complacency and made us realize that we are not completely immune to the hardships around the world.

I will leave you with one more fact.  The one World Trade Center is the main skyscraper that is being built at the site of the September 11 attacks in New York City.  This building will be exactly one thousand, seven hundred and seventy six feet tall.  How fitting for a number which represents our freedom to be standing at that site.

To all the patriots in the audience, our veterans, our amazing friends from the Tampa Bay area, thank you and thank you for stopping and remembering the tragedy of 9/11 and remember that this nation will not bend, and we are stronger today than ever…thank you and God bless!

—————

Please read my books:

  1. “55 Rules for a Good Life,” on Amazon (link here).
  2. “Our Longest Year in Iraq,” on Amazon (link here).
Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I'm Doug and I provide at least one article every day on some leadership topic. I welcome comments and also guests who would like to write an article. Thanks for reading my blog.

14 thoughts on “Remember 9/11: We Stand for Freedom

  1. Yiddy of Macedonia

    More great reading from the mind of Gen. Satterfield. Ha Ha. In all seriousness, thanks.

    Reply
  2. Janna Faulkner

    Gen. Satterfield never disappoints. Keep up the great work you are doing here on your blog, sir. Those who have not read, Gen. S’s books, then see the above links. My personal favorite of all is ’55 Rules for a Good Life’ and if you get a copy, you will always keep it on your desk and refer to it time and again. I’ve read it three times (easy read) and each time, I gain more insight.
    https://www.amazon.com/55-Rules-Good-Life-Responsibility/dp/1737915529/
    ❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤

    Reply
    1. Ice Man

      YES! And if like the speech today, then you will also like Gen. Satterfield’s books.

      Reply
  3. Fred Weber

    Gen. S., thanks for another spot-on 9/11 recognition. This is a day we should never ever forget. By the way, everyone! read the “Daily Favorites” today because there is an article about the incompetent failure of the FBI to prevent 9/11, despite getting many warnings of a high probable attack on US soil. They failed despite massive funding. Poor leadership at the FBI continues to this day and now they target parents at school boards, Catholics, 2A supporters, and the average guy with a job. They are INSURRECTIONISTS and MUST be arrested and jailed for not spouting the Democrat Party line. Sounds like communism to me. Just saying for a friend.

    Reply
    1. Grover in the Grove

      Be careful Fred, I’m sure the FBI has you on their watchlist. Go off grid. They only way.

      Reply
  4. Tom Bushmaster

    You don’t find many people making good speeches any more. They would rather read from a playbook written by someone else than to use genuine words. thanks Gen. Satterfield for alerting us to this USAF colonel.

    Reply
    1. Emma Archambeau

      Yep, sad to say we don’t “think” much any longer. We use words, but most are meaningless.

      Reply
      1. Unwoke Dude

        Right Tom and Emma. Words, Words, Words, ………….. that’s all we get. Just wait until you hear the ‘speech’ that VP Kamala Harris gives today. If she gives one. Even Pres Biden doesn’t make the time to be at any 9/11 site. He is siting somewhere tanning himself, lost on a beach somewhere in Alaska. What a wimp. Wimp in chief.

        Reply

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