Today is a special day, a somber day. Ten years ago, 2,977 innocent lives were lost at the hands of extremists who hate the United States and everything our great nation represents. On that day, we saw the absolute worst of humanity, in the terrible cowardice of mass murder, but we also saw the very best of our humanity and resilience, from the skies over Pennsylvania, to the horrific scenes in Lower Manhattan and Washington, as our fellow Americans selflessly sacrificed themselves to save the lives of others.
It is a date marked in infamy, burned forever in the consciousness of the United States of America.
But today is also a day of strength, of unity, of remembering the awesome power of the American spirit. Throughout our nation's history, Americans have risen to every challenge presented. We proclaimed our freedom in 1776, shed the shackles of tyranny in 1783, preserved our union and the right for all men to be free by 1865, smashed aggressive fascism by 1945, triumphed for freedom in 1991, and in 2001, we were challenged as a nation once again.
Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, to assure the survival and the success of liberty.
So today, on this day of remembrance, we should all strive to do what those 2,977 innocents would want us to do: live. Each of us should re-dedicate ourselves to the great task of preserving this wonderful, radical experiment in democracy that we started in 1775. We should rise to the challenge of making this democratic republic the absolute best it can be.
A group of cowardly murderers challenged us on September 11, 2001. Let us honor the 2,977 who lost their lives that day by stepping up to that challenge and showing the world how great we all can be.
With that, let's turn to this special edition of news and notes from around the UCLA-iverse:
- For coverage of today's memorial services in Lower Manhattan, Shanksville, and Washington, you can get a summary from USA Today or CNN. Very touching photographs, indeed.
- Meanwhile, Vice President Joe Biden honored the "9/11 generation" - the young men and women, who in the shadows of that terrible day volunteered to serve their nation, and for many, did not come home. Even today, as our nation remembers the victims of September 11, we should remember that many of our fellow Americans are overseas, in a hostile land, in uniform, serving our great republic.
- As for the president, President Obama and President Bush marked the ten-year anniversary of the September 11 attacks by attending the memorial service at Ground Zero in New York, followed by attending various memorials throughout the nation. The Washington Times has full coverage here.
- On the other side of the globe, CNN took note that many Afghan villagers remain completely in the dark about the September 11 attacks, and thus, the corresponding rationale for the presence of American soldiers in their homeland. Interesting report, to say the least.
- Turning to UCLA news, 2007 grad Allison Lipp of Fair Oaks has been awarded a 2011-12 Fulbright scholarship to teach abroad in Spain. Always great to see Bruins succeeding and, well, kind of an awesome deal for Allison: who doesn't want to be paid to go abroad for a year?
- In recruiting news, Ben Howland opened the fall contact period by reportedly visiting with top-prospect and UCLA-target Shabazz Muhammad. I don't think I need to repeat how important landing Shabazz would be for Howland and the future of UCLA's program.
- On the football side of recruiting, the Sacramento Bee took note of UCLA targeting a pair of Sacramento area recruits, Marcus Rios of Cosumnes Oaks (currently verbally committed to Boise State) and tight end/defensive end prospect Nate Iese of Sheldon High School. At the Bruins' current standard of play, both kids, if they end up in Westwood, may be playing for an entirely new coaching staff, including Neuheisel (although the axe should be falling much higher, you hear me Dan?).
- Speaking of football, attendance was absolutely dismal at last night's home opener at the Rose Bowl. The official attendance was 42,685, the second smallest crowd for a home opener since UCLA started playing in the Rose Bowl. The only smaller crowd for a home opener was against Cal State Fullerton in 1992. Hard to blame fans for not wanting to show up when we see the putrid product these clowns are putting on the field.
- Giving truth to the phrase "beauty is in the eye of the beholder" Janis Carr at the Orange County Register was impressed with Brehaut's lackluster performance against the Spartans, claimed he has "solidified" his position as the starting QB. What?!?! Apparently Janis was watching a completely different game than the rest of us because all I saw was an uninspired performance devoid of any kind of leadership. It was flat-out pathetic: both the reporting from the Register and the team's performance on Saturday.
- Finally, the men's soccer team finally managed to pick up a victory by defeating St. Mary's. Salcedo's squad, which was ranked between sixth and second in national pre-season polls struggled to open the season, dropping games to Louisville and UC Davis and managing only to tie Santa Clara. With the talent on the roster, the slow start is inexcusable: Salcedo needs to turn it around fast.
With that, enjoy the last day of the weekend, take in the return of the NFL, and most importantly, remember and honor the 2,977 innocent lives lost ten years ago today.
GOD BLESS AMERICA