The Price of Freedom - a Thank You to the Service Men and Women

I wonder if any of you were seeing what I saw half-way through October 2012 when a news brief flashed across my TV screen. It said, "Terrorist apprehended in lower Manhattan.." they went on to say that the FBI was there to intercept the suspect they knew he would be there and that there would be additional details at 5pm. I couldn't believe what I'd heard. How could they let people go to work if they 'knew!' and what? did they know exactly. Do they know my boyfriend works in lower Manhattan? That he is there right now in real time blocks away?  Do they know that saying terrorist suspect in any context especially with reference to NY is devastatingly reminiscent of the terrorist plot heard round the world in 2001? I waited with bated breath and once more they said, "terrorist apprehended..." and panned the camera view to outside the Federal Reserve building.

As they walked through their statement the color drained from my face and I steadied myself - my hand on the wall - as the words terrorist suspect and lower Manhattan washed over me, intertwining like a plot in a horror movie. The details at 5pm brought relief - "A man has been arrested in New York for allegedly trying to blow up the Federal Reserve with what he believed was a 1,000lb bomb but was in fact a fake device provided by federal agents." (Access the full Guardian UK article HERE).

As the article describes, it turns out the whole thing was a sting operation which is why you may be unfamiliar with the headline.  The FBI did a great job heading the guy off way ahead of the pass, but the snippet on the news practically stopped my heart. Here I am - a part of the 9/11 generation - forever changed.

Flash forward to Sunday afternoon the following weekend. I'm standing with my hand on my heart - the words of the Star Spangled Banner sailing overhead -  a dedication ceremony at Marlboro Firehouse. A piece of 9/11 steel is about to be unveiled as part of a monument dedicated to the memory of lives lost in the fire company. I am humbled by the sight of a flying American flag transported from where it was last flown in Afghanistan. For Marlboro House Company 1 and their sister firehouse Milton Engine Company 1 the monument has been a year in planning. Both of the fire companies are 100% volunteer. Both fire companies responded to the call for help of September 11th.

For members of our community it will stand for a hundred years to come serving in memory of the lives lost on American soil. Homage to members of our community who service selflessly and tirelessly in past present and future wars for the safety of American freedom - a nation preserved.

Today and every day I remain grateful to all of the men and service women of our country. Veterans, active military, volunteer fire and police - EMS, first responders of all kinds. The older I get the more I realize the price of freedom that is not free and the more I am thankful for the people who stand on he front lines to defend that statement for all of us.

Article by Stefanie Pearl