One year later.........

Where were you and what were you doing on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001? As was the case when President John F. Kennedy was shot to death in November of 1963, people will never forget that terrible day. One year later, many of us are still trying to understand why the events of that day occurred. We are trying to find a way to deal with it so that we can bring closure to it and move on. But try as we may, it just won't go away. It never will.
   The terrorist events of Sept. 11, 2001 changed our country forever. It changed how we view our freedom, our safety and our way of life. No longer will Americans be able to go about their everyday activities without the thought of "will this happen again?" Unfortunately, it probably will happen again.
   The irreplaceable loss of life, the attempted destruction of New York City, the attacks on our sovereignty from Osama bin Laden and his terror network were supposed to send us a message. We were supposed to be taught a lesson that Americanism, freedom and the rights of individuals means little in the global scheme of things. They hoped that we would retreat from our beliefs -- that our fear would result in their victory, but they were mistaken.
   Instead, fear transformed itself into courage and the stage is now set for an even greater America than before. This is not a good thing for those whose mission is to destroy America and the influence she has in the world.
   For such a long time in this country, our people had been complacent. Our priorities of the day were based at our jobs, making money, getting our children through school and enhancing our standard of living. Those things are a part of everyone's life, I suppose, but for many Americans this was their focus in life.
   We went about our daily routine oblivious to the fact that we live in the best country in the world -- that America has been and will always be that "Shinning City on the Hill" for others to emulate.
   It was not until Sept. 11, 2001 that all the things that America really stands for came back into focus. We once again started to appreciate and cherish each other. We once again realized that God is our real strength and without Him centered in our lives, life is not worth living. We once again understood what freedom meant and that it is precious and must be defended at all costs. We once again understood that patriotism means more than just flying the American flag -- it means participating in the system and making a contribution.
   For the past year, America has been hurting, but healing. We have been working together, supporting each other and being neighbors again. There has been a renewed interest in government and supporting those that we trust to protect us. There seems to be a real change in our country's overall attitude and that can only mean that better days are ahead for all of us.
   Today, the nation will focus on the anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001 as it should. We, at the Elizabethton Star, have decided to focus on people in our own community. Elizabethton and Carter County is a great place to live and enjoy life and we hope to highlight that for you today.
   In this special edition, we wish to thank publicly the people that serve and protect us in this community. They often risk their lives for our safety and we often take them for granted. This edition is also filled with stories and photos related to the terrorist events from a local perspective. Lastly, we have included several award winning essays from an Elizabethton Star sponsored contest from students at our local high schools. These essays are well written, thought provoking and a reminder of the talented young people we have around us.
   One year later we are a changed country, but I believe most would say that it was for the better.