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Darrell Huckaby - Let's remember to never forget

Have you looked at your calendar today? If not, glance at the top of this page. The date should be there. Sept. 10, 2008.

That's right. Today is Sept. 10. Tomorrow is Sept. 11, and everybody remembers Sept. 11, 2001. But how many of us remember Sept. 10 of that same year.

Well, I do. I spent the day teaching school, as always, and according to my lesson plan book from that year, I talked to my classes about Jonathan Edwards and the Great Awakening, which was pretty prophetic, when you think about it, because we were certainly about to have another.

That evening I put the finishing touches on my fourth book, "Southern Is as Southern Does" and talked, at length, with Jackie Daily about the trip I had planned for that weekend to take my son, Jackson and her son, Jeremy, to Athens - to watch Georgia play Houston.

I remember the thing about the book because I was en route to the post office to mail my manuscript to the publisher when I had that awful news the next day - you know the news I am talking about - and I remember the conversation about the trip to the football game because the game was cancelled and we didn't get to take the kids at all.

Funny how things work out. Here we are, seven years later. I have spent most of this week getting my eighth book ready for press and Jackson and Jeremy are now roommates at Georgia - and still attending games together.

Which says a lot for America, if you really think about it.

Y'all remember how it was on that terrible day. We were all in shock, at first. We couldn't believe that it was happening, but we were all watching the horrific story play out on our television screens, so we knew that it really was.

Not only were we in shock, but we were also filled with fear. We saw terrorists behind every tree - or at least every convenience store counter, and every packet of spilled sugar became an anthrax scare and every random remark became a threat of some kind.

And after the shock and fear subsided, we were angry. We wanted to find out who was responsible and we wanted them punished. We all felt like Georgia Sen. Zell Miller, even if we wouldn't admit it. Zell said, "I want to bomb the hell out of somebody and I want to do it right now."

And then, in the days and weeks that followed, our shock and fear and anger gave way to resolve. We were the United States of America, with the emphasis on UNITED - and we were not going to let "them" win - them being the Muslim terrorists who thought they could disrupt our economy and our freedom and our way of life by hijacking a few airplanes and murdering a few thousand of our people - just like the Japanese thought they could break our will to fight by destroying our Pacific fleet in Pearl Harbor back in 1941.

We were determined to get our planes back in the skies and our football games rescheduled. We would not stay away from shopping malls or public gatherings. We would not hide behind closed doors. We would go on with our lives and continue to be Americans. And we would never forget. We would never forget those that lost their lives on Sept. 11 and we would never forget those who did it. And we would never forget that there were still people out there - enemies of our nation and her people - who still hated America and were actively looking for chances to repeat those heinous acts, and worse.

On Sept. 10, 2001, the world was different, in a lot of ways. We were about to be at war, but didn't realize it. We were going about the business of living our lives as best we could. And on Sept. 10, 2008, we are about like we were then. We are going about the business of living our lives as best we can.

We no longer shiver when an airplane flys over a stadium full of people. We no longer panic over spilled sugar. We no longer listen in on whispered conversations at nearby tables in restaurants or look suspiciously at the clerks behind convenience store counters - and I am in no way implying that we should.

But we should not forget to remember. We should remember that we have enemies out there who still hate us and who are still plotting - every single day - to destroy us and our way of life; enemies who are determined to inflict even more pain and suffering on our nation than occurred on Sept. 11.

This is not anyone's imagination speaking. It is not paranoia. It is just a fact of life in the 21st century.

And in 55 days we, the people, will pick a new leader. I pray to God that we will pick the one who is best able to keep us safe as a nation.

Today is Sept. 10, but tomorrow is 9/11. Let's don't ever forget.

Darrell Huckaby is a local author and educator. He can be reached at dHuck08@bellsouth.net.