JUDGE: Every day should be September 12th
I am writing this on Sept. 12, 2023. The day after the 22nd anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. A day that sadly seems to have less and less significance on our nation and those who make most of the noise throughout this country.
Our focus seems to be on issues far less significant than the tremendous loss of life on that day and the crowd-think mentality that went into the mechanisms that allowed that day to happen. Far too many people in America seem to worry more about pop-culture and social issues than they do the safety and security of our country, our values, and our beliefs.
Prior to 9/11, our immigration policies were not taken seriously enough by our federal government, and we paid the price that day. Over 20 Arab nationals were in our country, illegally overstaying their visas, and allowed to attend training programs that taught them to fly the very vehicles that they used to kill innocent Americans. And while we should have learned from this, we have allowed time to go by, the sting to subside, and our attention to focus on the issues that please us rather than the tough issues we must face to secure our nation, our state, and our county.
On Sept. 11, I lost three people that I knew in the Pentagon. Two individuals who I flew with (Captain Getzfred and Joe Pycior) and a third (Jonas Panik) that I was friends with. Jo was our Intel Officer for the squadron and would brief us before each flight and meet us for debrief afterwards. But more than that, he was a friend to all of us and a pretty mean guy on the basketball court; and you play a lot of basketball in the desert. But he was truly the best of us. 26 years-old when he was killed, he had a new wife and a bright future that was snuffed out by a group of cowards.
This weekend, I had a chance to discuss with Representative Pete Sessions office the Disaster Declaration on the Border that the Milam County Commissioners Court passed a few months ago. We passed this declaration due to the reduction of our local law enforcement resources and the increase in crime related to that reduction. We passed it to send the word out that there is an issue that is being overlooked in this state and country and we are paying the price at the local level. I am glad to report that our declaration is now in Washington and being looked at seriously along with those of other counties who have passed similar declarations to make the case that something must be done to protect us all.
Now I know this week’s article is a little bit preachy, but this weighs on me every year. Because in the memories of those of us who remember that day and those we lost, we must also remember the 12th of September – The Day After. The day we all took off the jerseys we wear in our lives, and all lined up on the same team. We worked together to make changes to our lives to protect ourselves as well as our way of life. We looked past our personal differences and worked toward a common goal.
We seem to have lost that spirit of togetherness and solidarity. We must find it again before we face a similar calamity as that fateful day in New York, or Washington, or Shanksville. Those events should be paramount on our mind, and we should hold them as dear as we do Pearl Harbor or even the Alamo. I challenge each of you to get out and make a difference in that effort. We can have a differing of opinions on the issues, but we should all be working towards a more secure future for our kids and our grandkids. We can not take it for granted.