Column: Finding the good from Sept. 11Yet another year of omelet breakfasts at the Farmington American Legion started up last Sunday. By coincidence, it happened that our first breakfast of the year was scheduled on the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on the United States.
By: Michelle Leonard, The Farmington Independent
Yet another year of omelet breakfasts at the Farmington American Legion started up last Sunday. By coincidence, it happened that our first breakfast of the year was scheduled on the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on the United States.
I’ll be honest — for being president of the local American Legion Auxiliary unit, the whole concept of the 9/11 anniversary hadn’t really sunk in. I’d just come back from spending two weeks running the Minnesota Newspaper Museum out at the State Fair. Our ALA unit had a salad luncheon last Thursday, and I had gotten a new computer when I returned to work last Tuesday. Shifting gears back into my real-world responsibilities didn’t just happen because Labor Day had come and gone.
Of course, I knew it was a special day. The week leading up to the anniversary was filled with news stories, remembrances, notes and “we will never forget” messages all over Face-book. I knew it was coming, but the magnitude of that day just hadn’t sunk in with me.
The omelet breakfast is a major fundraiser for our Auxiliary unit, thanks to the Sons of the American Legion including us in the event. I was looking forward to seeing the folks I hadn’t seen all summer, since our last breakfast on Mother’s Day. I had my coffee, I was still waking up.
One of my highlights in coming down from St. Paul is that I drive past the capitol every day. I took a little detour through the grounds, just for the heck of it, Sunday morning. And there, on the steps our state capitol, was a gathering of people. Flags flying, a podium with someone speaking at it. It was a 9/11 ceremony. And I suddenly wanted to be there.
Of course, I couldn’t. I had to get to Farmington. I turned on the radio, and somehow found a 10-year-old interview with Sen. Paul Wellstone. Wow. In listening to the interview, I remembered so many emotions from that day 10 years ago. In my mind’s eye, I remembered watching the Today show and seeing footage of the first plane sinking into the World Trade Center.
Sen. Wellstone was asked what he thought the American people wanted following the Sept. 11 attacks. I turned on the tape recorder I had in my car.
“We want to be united and we want to be strong, and we want our own best selves to come out now,” he said.
And I believe, 10 years later, those words are still true, especially in our own community. Farmington can be proud of the countless men and women who have enlisted to serve their country since that event. We can be proud of our police officers, our firefighters and our paramedics for keeping us safe. We have youngsters in programs like Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, church groups and 4H. We have civic and military organizations that back their community and the youth who live here, their veterans and active military.
A few minutes later I came across three cranes that hoisted two large US flags and a photo of a soldier rescuing a child. Between seeing that, the ceremony at the capitol and hearing Wellstone’s interview, I was almost a basket case by the time I got to the Legion.
I’ve always kind of lived by the motto that everything happens for a reason. If there was anything good to have come from the 9/11 attacks on the US, it was that, I believe, many of us found our own best selves coming out.