September 11 Must Strengthen Us as Citizens
Commissioner Tommy Adkisson
September 26, 2001

Fear, anger, resolve all describe feelings we have as a result of the tragic events of September 11, 2001, a day that will truly live in infamy!  What we do about the situation remains to be seen.  The United States will no doubt re-examine our security systems across the country, investigate the sites where we were attacked and look for the responsible party for appropriate action.

Action taken will be largely that of some level of government on our behalf.  But what can we do as citizens? We can no doubt, donate our blood and our money.  We can pray for those families of the victims and for the injured.  We might even pray for our enemies, a radical notion taken right out of a page from our faith.

But beyond these actions you and I can personally take, what else can we do to help our county?  I submit that in this tragedy each of us has a chance to rethink our individual role as citizens.  What active role do I take as a citizen to strengthen our community and our country?

John F. Kennedy said in his inaugural address, "Ask not what your country can do for you.  Ask instead, what you can do for your country."  I submit that what you can do for your country is to be the best that you can be.  Some occupations are considered "professional".  Some are not.  Every occupation though, is important no matter.

George Bernard Shaw said, " The best thing anyone can do for society is to raise a family."  I assume that he means a good family or a contributing family.  I would not believe that he meant perfection or even one completely lacking some form or another of dysfunction.

What about making some contribution beyond our personal or family lives, though?  Would one attend church or some other worthy good deed-doing organization?  Better yet, how about becoming actively involved in such an organization?

How about exchanging some thing that we do that really does not excite us for something really inspiring?  How about church, a neighborhood association, an international service organization such as Lions, Rotary, Kiwanis, or Optimists, the PTA, PTC, or PTO, the band boosters, athletic boosters, Business and Professional Women, Toastmasters, Chamber of Commerce, Union or professional association related to your work and still others yet?

We can be wise stewards of our home here on Earth.  As a country, we Americans can conserve energy as well as develop renewable energy so that we never run short during peace or wartime.  Even if at present, we buy about 50% of our energy from foreign countries, it is not smart to depend on foreign countries for our energy.  We can conserve our resources by recycling.  And, we can live healthy lives by demanding high standards for clean air.  In fact through our own individual actions, we can declare our own personal economic independence and lay the foundation for our country to deal from strength, from the office of citizen all the way to the office of President.

Finally, I am reminded of the statement, "Without justice there is no peace."   Might there be some injustice in this world that is especially obvious?  With all the endless good deeds Americans do for the rest of the world, is there something we must address that would be additionally and immensely beneficial to the cause of peace?  Bottom line: with our individual resolve to make this a more just world in a world that has not often experienced justice, peace will be more likely to break our from our Country and surround the globe. And with the whole world watching us, we will measure up as our ancestors have.  We will resolve and succeed.

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