By: Lt Col. Damon Friedman– Do you remember how our world changed 16 years ago today? An extreme terrorist organization conducted a strategic attack against America on our own soil. That hasn’t happened since 1941 when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor.
9/11 was a travesty. Every time I think about it, my stomach turns. For many of us who weren’t directly impacted by the loss of a loved one or who weren’t in Manhattan at the time, it’s easy to forget. Actually, it’s a shame when we do forget. I think it’s critical to remember so we don’t allow such a tragedy to happen again.
Let me ask you another question—do you remember where you were when you heard the news? I remember vividly. That moment changed my military career and my entire life, irrevocably and forever. I was in the Marine Corps. I heard the news from a friend who burst into the room during one of our training exercises.
“Dude, did you hear? Did you hear?” he said, clamoring around the room in a near panic. “A plane went through the World Trade Center. There’s been two of them already.” The general population needed a few moments to process this news and understand what it meant. The news reports from that day make it clear that many thought it was an accident until the second plane struck. This wasn’t the case for us Marines. Instinct kicked in, and we knew what was going down immediately. There was no doubt. This was no accident. Something was terribly wrong. This was an act of terrorism. It was an act of outright war. We were under attack.
We watched the horrifying images of people, flinging themselves from the windows of the floors above the area of impact in order to escape the smoke and flames. While we had recognized this as an act of war right away, it took a moment for it to dawn on us what that meant for us as servicemen. It meant that we—not just “We” the country, but specifically we the people in this room—were soon going to war. The enemy had struck and it was now up to us to strike back.
This is what we had been training for. The training was real. It wasn’t play. We had all taken part in war games that had prepared us for the real thing. The real thing was now here. We were ready. I was ready. And so we went.
The enemy, Satan is looking to find your vulnerabilities and exploit them. The initial attack may not seem like one, very much like that first plane. But it becomes apparent when the second attack occurs. Satan wants to infiltrate behind your friendly position and destroy the things that matter most to you. The enemy will stop at nothing to divide marriages, families, communities and countries.
Protect yourself with God’s strategic War Manual, the Bible. Be vigilante, read it every day and use it as your guide in this life. Don’t give the enemy a foothold that could derail you. Train hard with the Sword of Truth and arm yourself with the armor of God. So when the enemy comes—you are ready to defend and stand firm for Truth. Jesus, the Commander of the Universe keeps His warriors safe. Our Commander tells us not to be afraid because He is with us. For God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind (2 Tim 1:7).
Let us not forget. Let us remember.
Lt Col Damon Friedman is an elite Special Tactics Officer and leader in special operations with 17 years of service. His decorations include 3 Bronze Stars (1 with valor) and the Combat Action medal. In 2011 Damon started SOF Missions, a non-profit organization aimed at helping veterans. He is the executive producer of the film Surrender Only to ONE. Damon holds a doctorate of Intercultural Studies. He is husband to Dayna and dad to Hunter and Brooklyn. They live in Florida.