Since Oct 8, 2001

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Well, I must confess that I'm not American (not yet anyway) but Dutch. But for all my life I loved the USA. It started when I was a small boy of about 9 years or so. I had a great interest in history, especially the American Civil War between the Yankees and Confederets. Since then I started to feel that the USA was a special country. When I finished school and went for high school, my mother asked me what kind of present I wanted. I told her that I wanted two Old Glories! She got them for me and I hanged them in front of the windows of my room. People looked strange at first (Holland isn't a very America-friendly country), but I couldn't care less. I felt proud to show to the world that I loved the USA. In that time Ronald Reagan was president and there was this anti-Reagan attitude in Holland. But I defended him in discussions, for he was president of the country I loved and he battled communism and terrorism. Well, in the Netherlands many people didn't see any danger in the two of them. They thought America was their enemy! When Bush senior became president and in 1991 the Gulf war began, people thought that the USA was only liberating Kuwait for the oil and their own interests, conveniently forgetting who liberated Europe back in 1944/45. I couldn't believe that many Dutch people were forgetting the sacrifices the USA made in Normandy, the Ardennes and in the southern part of Holland! All the time there was this talk of anti-American thoughts. The torture I went thru when people tried to tell me that the USA was the big bully of the world and how stupid these Americans were!

Then our darkest our came: the attacks on 9/11. Terrorists struck and killed thousands. At first I heard that a plane crashed in one of the towers. An accident? Then a second one! I directly said: "this is the work of Osama Bin Laden". When I came home from work, I watched on TV how both towers collapsed, and I knew thousands were killed, together with all the firemen and police. My heart broke...

But like the Phoenix who rises from the ashes the American spirit shined like a light in the darkness. Images of rescuers were send around the world. People gathered around the WTC site to support them mentaly with flags, banners and their words. That evening there was this speech from the leader of the national disaster counsel (or something) who said that every American should wave an Old Glory to display that we're still standing tall. All around America people responed. There were flags everywhere on display, footage of a man waving the flag on top of a bridge, images from the WTC site were people put flowers on burnt-out firetrucks, the firemen who raised the flag there, the enormous flag hung from the side of the Pentagon, a country who was one in thoughts: UNITED WE STAND, ONE NATION UNDER GOD! Instead of crumbling like the buildings the terrorists hoped for, the pride in American hearts was growing even more! I looked at these images and cried, for those who were fallen and for the people who were proving that America is the greatest and proudest nation in the world. And the world showed that they also cared.

This event has proven to me that I was right about America! Footage of how every American cared an rallied behind the nation: thousands of flags and cars painted in American colors at an Indy 500 race, NFL games were an Old Glory as big as the field was showed, a big NFL player sitting with tears on his cheek when the anthem was played, people gathering in Washington, New York and everywhere else to unite. I felt very proud to see how America reacted, I was right all along!

Here's what I saw and felt:

If tomorrow all the things were gone I worked for all my life
And I had to start again with just my children and my wife
I thank my lucky stars to be living here today
Cause the flag still stands for freedom and they can't take that away

And I'm proud to be an American where at least I know I'm free
And I won't forget the men who died who gave that right to me
And I gladly stand up next to you and defend her still today
Cause there ain't no doubt I love this land, God Bless the USA

From the lakes of Minnesota to the hills of Tennessee
Cross the plains of Texas, from sea to shining sea
From Detroit down to Houston and New York to LA
Well there's pride in every American heart
And it's time that we stand and say that

I'm proud to be an American where at least I know I'm free
And I won't forget the men how died who gave that right to me
And I gladly stand up next to you and defend her still today
Cause there ain't no doubt I love this land, God Bless the USA

By Lee Greenwood

And I wanted to tell you all how I see the USA, and felt when people started saying that the USA was weakening during Operation Enduring Freedom:

Almost two centuries ago a group of disturbed men met in the small Pennsylvania State House. They gathered to decide on a course of action. Behind the locked and guarded doors they debated for hours whether or not to sign the Declaration which had been presented for their consideration. For hours the talk was treason and its price the headsman's axe, the gallows and noose. The talk went on and decision was not forthcoming.
Then, Jefferson writes, a voice was heard coming from the balcony:

They may stretch our necks on all the gibbets in the land. They may turn every tree into a gallows, every home into a grave, and yet the words of that parchment can never die. They may pour our blood on a thousand scaffolds and yet from every drop that dyes the axe a new champion of freedom will spring into birth. The words of this declaration will live long after our bones are dust.

To the mechanic in his workshop they will speak hope; to the slave in the mines, freedom; but to the coward rulers, these words will speak in tones of warning they cannot help but hear. Sign that parchment. Sign if the next moment the noose is around your neck. Sign if the next minute this hall rings with the clash of falling axes! Sign by all your hopes in life or death, not only for yourselves but for all ages, for that parchment will be the textbook of freedom the bible of the rights of man forever.

Were my soul trembling on the verge of eternity, my hand freezing in death, I would still implore you to remember this truth: God has given America to be free.

As he finished, the speaker sank back in his seat exhausted. Inspired by his eloquence the delegates rushed forward to sign the Declaration of Independence. When they turned to thank the speaker for his timely words he couldn't be found and to this day no one knows who he was or how he entered or left the guarded room.

This text I think embodies the true spirit of America: even when faced with death we choose to be free!

We are fighting because others have fought for us, for our rights, for our freedom. We must fight this evil so it can no longer harm anyone again. Also we must keep on fighing to make others free (remember the Battle Hymne of the Republic: "as he died to make men holy, let us die to make man free").

Some people believe that we are giving in. Never I say!
When George Washington faced a much larger British amry, did they choose not to fight for their (and our) freedom? Did the men who defended the Alamo give in? No, even when they knew they would all be killed and the Mexicans offered them safe passage, they choose to fight. They died so that others could be free, they gave their lives so others wouldn't die. When the Japanse army made their strike at Pearl Harbor, did we give in? Or when the US Amny landed at the beaches in Normandy and things went really bad? No! They fought on to victory!

I urge all Americans to remember the story behind the "Star Spangled Banner": even after the 25 hour bombardement of Fort McHenry, our flag was still there. Why? Because real Americans don't give in! We don't call America "the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave" for nothing!

The terrorist attacks on 9/11 was our darkest hour, but now we must stand united and show that the fire of the spirit of freedom that lives in ALL of us has not weakened. Fueled by our desire to be free and victorious it shall rise like the Phoenix! From the rubble we must stand up and cry for freedom and keep the dream of liberty alive! We must rebuild the WTC with an even bigger one and show the world that Americans stand tall, even when faced with the greatest dangers. The USA was made the greatest country by people who fought and even died for it, making it free or while defending it, we must fight to honor them and to ensure that those who were killed on 9/11 are the last Americans to die by the hands of terrorists!

Show to the world you are proud to be an American, to be proud of living in such a beautiful country and hang up as much Old Glory's as you can, 24/7, forever, to remember that GOD HAS GIVEN AMERICA TO BE FREE!!!


The speech from the unknown man was taken from a Ronald Reagan speech titled 'Your America to be Free'

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