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Consider this quote from Abe Lincoln

"America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves."



Three Hundred Forty-Three. Does that number mean something to you? Perhaps it doesn't anymore. Perhaps it means the same to you as 2,403 does to the remaining few from the World War II generation.

Monday is the 5th anniversary of the day which will forever be scorched into the minds of those of us walking this earth on that day. Do you still remember? Do you remember where you were, what you were doing and how it affected you that bright crisp September morning in 2001? Do you remember sitting stunned as you watched the jets slam into the World Trade Center? Did you sit in silence in the office that day, watching television without saying a word? Did you feel sick, scared, or simply stunned? Did you want to leave work that day? Perhaps you walked into a church for the first time in years and got down on your knees. Did you take stock in your life?

It's easy to forget. To simply place the memory of that day away, with things better left to never be remembered again. But for some, the nightmare of that morning continues. They suffer at night when their dreams take over their minds, taking them back to that day. They can't watch commercials for the latest movie touted as the true story of that day. For some, the world as we knew it, will never and can never be the same. Some have tarnished that day, selling cheap trinkets in a sad attempt to capitalize on the memory of those killed that day.

As the days and months go by, we let our guard down, we forget what it felt, we complain about our young men and women fighting an unpredictable foe in the middle east. Yes, for many we have forgotten, have put it aside like a long forgotten nightmare from when we were young. We have forgotten the sacrifice of that day and harp on the sacrifice of today simply because it is too hard, because we want life easy.

To many the number 343 means very little. But to those of my brothers in the fire service we still remember, and shall never forget those 343 firefighters who walked in that day, looked death straight in the face, and laid down their lives to help their fellow man. Perhaps in our busy lives, we can take a moment to reflect on just what that day meant to each of us, and vow to never forget. Perhaps you'll sit quietly, perhaps you'll stand and salute at a memorial, or perhaps you'll take a moment and write a check to your local fire departments to help in the work they do. Whatever you choose, please don't forget what happened that day, and never forget 343.

See you next week..Remember, we're all in this together.