Today marks the 18th anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, which claimed nearly 3,000 American lives. In addition to the first responders who ran selflessly into burning buildings and lost their lives on Sept. 11, 2001, the flight crews of American Airlines Flights 11 and 77, and United Airlines Flights 175 and 93, spent their final moments comforting and protecting their passengers during the hijackings. Thirty-three pilots and flight attendants died that day.
Our youngest daughter had been a flight attendant for barely a year in 2001 and as the horrific news unfolded that morning we held our breath until we were able to contact her. When air traffic resumed four days later I boarded a plane in Spokane for LAX where I met her for a hug and a quick visit as she went back to work in the air. I flew right back home. It was my personal act of defiance against the terrorists and needing to see for myself she was safe. Next month she begins her second decade as cabin crew and today she’s in the air and I continue to worry.
Just a few weeks ago on the Idaho Street overpass in Post Falls I stood in the rain with about 50 other people of all ages. The Kootenai County Fire and Rescue ladder truck was there with a giant American flag flying from the ladder bucket over I-90. Most of the people on the overpass had flags to wave as well. It was a moment of gratitude, unspoken by most, as we waited for the procession that included Sgt. Brian Sharp, his wife and 1-year-old daughter. Sgt. Sharp was wounded in Afghanistan in March and was finally well enough to travel to visit family. For miles from Idaho Street to Hwy 95 hundreds of grateful citizens were welcoming him home.
As I stood on the overpass I recalled the spirit of patriotism that swelled in those first days, weeks and months following the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. I recalled another more somber and heartbreaking procession in July 2011 when native son Nick Newby came home from Iraq in a flag-draped coffin. As someone who came of age with my peers in the Vietnam era I recalled how there were no such displays of welcome or respect when those who wore the uniform of this country came home from war.
On that overpass and along the highway on August 30, many Vietnam veterans and their peers were remembering and ensuring that no soldier, sailor, Marine or airman ever comes home from war without a show of gratitude. My 22-year-old grandson, whose late grandfather was one of those returning from Vietnam with a Purple Heart a lifetime ago, just completed a 4-year enlistment in the Navy. He was a toddler on 9/11/01.
Sgt. Sharp was 15 when the terrorists attacked the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. His daughter is too young to remember the love shown to her father by people he will never meet but we can all try to be people worth young men and women risking their lives to protect.
It’s my heartfelt hope that we as American citizens never forget the attacks of September 11, 2001 and the many heroic actions that took place nor the men and women of our Armed Forces who continue to be in harm’s way as they fight the war on terror for freedom a world away. God bless America, Sgt. Sharp and all who serve our country and our community.
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Things to Do Highlights:
Friday, ArtWalk in downtown Coeur d’Alene. The Museum of North Idaho is open from 4-8 p.m. with free admission during ArtWalk.
Also on Friday, “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” opens at Lake City Playhouse, running through Sept. 29. Info: www.lakecityplayhouse.org
Saturday events include:
• North Idaho Building Contractors Association (NIBCA) Parade of Homes opening weekend, Saturday and Sunday. Info: www.nibca.com
• Teeing Up for Kids, United Way of North Idaho golf tournament at Circling Raven from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
• Second annual Retro Revelry at Jacklin Arts and Culture Center in Post Falls, featuring music, swing dance, fashion show, art, cars and food from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Free admission.
• Coeur d’Alene Fire Department open house on Saturday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. 1500 N. 15th St.
• Ninth annual Anna Schindler Memorial Golf Tournament, 12:30 p.m. Saturday at The Links in Post Falls. Info: www.annaschindlerfoundation.org
• The Blue Jean Booie to benefit the Hayden Senior Center is at the Kootenai County Fairgrounds on Saturday from 5-11 p.m.
• Benefit for the Coeur d’Alene Symphony is 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Schuler Performing Arts Center, featuring Garrison Keillor. Info: www.cdasymphony.org
Sunday morning from 10 a.m. to noon, Coeur d’Alene Race for the Cure at North Idaho College.
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Happy birthday today to Jim Pierce, Hannah Epstein, Cameron Epstein, Cyndie Brubaker, Jeremy Siegler, Kelly Hanson, Mark Compton, Patty Roberson, Lily Hollibaugh and Darrell Dlouhy. Tomorrow Rose Backs, Nelson Gourley, Tiegan Horton, Nancy Adams, Walter Cole, Norman Oss and Polly Gava do the birthday dance.
On lucky Friday the 13th Mike Pearce, Joy Seward, Janell Mollett, Kelly Sheffield, Chris Mann, Ryan Bartlett, Thomas Vigil, Mary Langenberg, Stormy Purcell, Ray Harwood, Lori Turchik, Laura Fierro, JulieAnn Sparrowgrove, Cher Rhoads, Nicole Hamilton, Gina Davis and Debbie Margraff take another trip around the sun. Saturday Leslie Orth, Connie Glass, Tammy Rubino, Diane Lemas, Wayne Dust and Anna DeTar put on their party hats.
Marking birthdays on Sunday are Pat Near (86!), Claudia Brennan, Brad Medlock, Jerry Deitz, Jean Wright, Shannon Englander, Kathie Colosimo, Angie Purcell, Liese Razzeto and Nick McDonald. On Monday Jeff Thompson, Courtney Hurt, James Hoialman, Charollett Morehouse and Terrie Lynn Gonzales blow out the birthday candles. Steve Widmyer, Jeff Crandall, Harmony Conley, Connie Evans, Russ Giles, Mary Riffe and Lynda Wright share Sept. 17 birthdays.
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Kerri Rankin Thoreson is a member of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists and the former publisher of the Post Falls Tribune. Main Street appears every Wednesday in The Press and Kerri can be contacted on Facebook or via email firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @kerrithoreson.