Suzann Darnall

Today is the 12th anniversary of the attack on the World Trade Center. Another day in the history of America "that will live in infamy". More "remember the" and "never forget" pieces in the patchwork of American strength and American sorrow. Those two so often go hand in hand.

I remember the day. 11 September 2001. My daughter phoned me and told me to turn on the TV. I was stunned. It looked like footage out of a Hollywood disaster or action movie. Hard to believe it was real. It was actually happening. America was under attack. The War on Terror was right on our doorstep.

Last week I watched a special produced by Fox News Channel. It was called 9/11: Timeline of Terror. They showed it commercial-free. It brought back the feelings so intensely. I could remember so clearly how I felt that day.

In addition to the fear, I remember the confidence I had in President George W. Bush. I remember feeling so proud about how he handled the situation when he got word in the classroom. People sometimes deride him as being a "cowboy", but I don't think that is necessarily a bad thing. I just don't think people who use the term derogatorily truly understand who a cowboy really is.

A cowboy is a man who just does what needs to be done. They work hard. They play hard. They take care of what needs fixin' and who needs tendin'. They are among the living myths and real-life legends of America. They are both fact and fiction. They are John Wayne mixed with Average Joe. A little larger than life, but still very down to earth.

I have lived a good portion of my life in the West. I cannot remember not loving going to rodeos and watching John Wayne movies. I have been lucky enough to know some honest-to-goodness cowboys in that time. Some have been rodeo cowboys, others have been working ranchers. They are usually patriots and Christians. A little rough around the edges, but good-hearted on the inside. They have all been men. Real men. The kind of men who support their families and will wear pink on Breast Cancer awareness days at the rodeo. They got nothing to prove . . . 'cause they done proved everything of any importance to those who matter.

I would trade anyone of them for the pathetic excuse for manhood and statesman who currently resides in the White House. How grateful I am that George W. Bush was our president in 2001 and not that other liberal weenie, Al Gore!

Sometimes it just takes a cowboy. The kind of man who will admit his fear, but saddle up anyway. The kind of man who might be partly a figment of our imagination, but still fills us with assurance. As was said, "When the legend becomes fact, print the legend." I think the same thing is true sometimes about needing to believe in people being a little larger than life. We need a Chuck Norris, a John Wayne, a Ronald Reagan, a George W. Bush. A man with a little touch of cowboy to inspire us with confidence. Not a confidence man to try to delude us that he is inspirational.

So, on this day when we remember those who died and those who survived. When we count the cost of freedom once again. When we think of the past, the present, and the future, let us say a prayer for America. In that prayer, let us also give thanks for George W. Bush. A man with enough cowboy to step up to the task and make us proud. Make us a little less fearful. Make us a whole lot safer. God bless America!

© Suzann C. Darnall, SEPTEMBER 2013

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