A Legacy of Triumph

Posted September 11, 2013

Written by: David Gosling

A dozen years have passed since 9/11, yet for Americans it will forever remain a moment transfixed in the present. For many veterans, it also serves as a reminder of what came in the months and years that followed. Following the initial state of shock induced by the attacks, there was an undeniable, palpable urgency to act, to find someone responsible for the deaths of so many innocents, and to exact justice on their behalf.

The military took ownership of the national call for action. They went to Afghanistan and, later, to Iraq. Hundreds, then thousands, sacrificed their lives in the pursuit of this cause and have continued to do so to the present day. Regardless of how one characterizes the post 9/11 era, the sacrifice of our veterans and their families is undeniable.

A new generation of young people is now coming of age without the understanding of what it felt like to be an American on September 12th, 2001. They will need to know about the sense of uncertainty that grasped our country amidst the grief. They will need to be told how the veil of security and safety constructed in the post-Soviet decade was removed in a single hour of a single day. And they will need to be taught about that small percentage of Americans who rose to the challenge of a response in the days, months, and years to come.

Many of the military men and women who served are now faces in the crowd. They pass us on the streets, they work along side us at the office, and they are the friends and family we see on weekends and holidays. Most do not ask for recognition. Most do not ask for sympathy. The truth is they deserve more; they deserve to be challenged, because within the challenge is an acknowledgment of their capabilities as leaders, problem solvers, and team builders.

Our nation’s veterans need to know that their work is not done. There is much and more to be accomplished. And, we need them to accept our challenges, the same way they did after 9/11. This year we can honor the veterans who defended us in the past by asking them to lead us in the future. If we can do this, the legacy of 9/11 will not only be one of tragedy, but one of triumph as well.

David Gosling is the Director of Community Engagement for Got Your 6. He served as an Airborne Ranger-qualified Infantry Officer with the 10th Mountain Division of the United States Army and is a combat veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom.