The Lesson in Loss

This time of year is always a difficult one for Americans.

The excitement of the new school year and the return of well-known routines wanes, giving way to moments of thanksgiving and reflection.

Tomorrow the world will commemorate the eighth anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks in the U.S.  Flags will be lowered.  Prayers will be lifted and tears will fall.

For so many, the details of that tragic day remain crisp and clear.  For a select part of our population, the last words of their loved ones lost in the attacks continue to ring in their hearts and minds.

The Memphis Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary hosted the “God Bless America Luncheon” on Wednesday, September 9th at the University of Memphis Holiday Inn.  The Memphis Commercial Appeal newspaper covered the event and the speech of Mrs. Deena Burnett Bailey.

Although now remarried, Bailey remembers the day her husband, Tom E. Burnett, called her to tell her that he was on Flight 93 and it had just been hijacked.  During her speech, she shared with those gathered her memories of the four brief phone conversations she had with her husband that day before he, and the rest of the passengers on the flight, wrested control from the hijackers and crashed in rural Pennsylvania.

“Tom’s last words to me were ‘Do something’,” she said.  “They ring true for each of us to stand up, fight back, do something.”

As we all pause to think about and remember the thousands of lives lost,  I hope we also think about Mrs. Bailey’s challenge: do something.

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