Politics is a subject that finds itself into the most neutral of places, such as on and off the chessboard, but I do my best to steer clear of discussing most controversial political topics here on Off My Chess. With that in mind, I feel that it is critical for me to take a moment to join my fellow countrymen and remember where I was during the horrific events of September 11, 2001. Remembering tragic historical events is critical since I recently discovered that my nieces were born after 9/11 and only know about it from history books and television!

What happened that day goes beyond the social, political, or religious beliefs of any person on this earth. The senseless murder of thousands and the destruction of the World Trade Center were cowardly acts that are, in some ways, still beyond our comprehension today. As a United States military service member, I spent September 11, 2001 at Cannon Air Force Base in New Mexico where our F-16 fighters were dispatched to assist the FAA with grounding all aircraft after the towers were hit. Additionally, we provided close air support over then President George W. Bush’s home in Crawford, Texas. I am proud to have served as part of the national response to September 11th and to have assisted with the safety and security of my fellow Americans.

Without a doubt, September 11th shook all of us to the core. It was not because it was a terrorist attack on our own soil, but the real shock came out of the sheer brutality of it all. It did not give Al Qaeda or Osama Bin Laden a tactical advantage over the United States in a face-to-face military conflict, but instead it targeted civilians and induced fear by striking a blow at what Osama and his fanatical followers viewed as the ultimate symbol of American corruption: greed. Fortunately, the American spirit won over the fear and we persevered through some of the toughest challenges in our nation’s history. The American spirit is not embodied in the ways of a single political party, religion, or special interest group. It is an abstract idea which says that all men and women have a fundamental right to pursue their own destiny. In my opinion, the American dream is embodied on the 64 squares of the chessboard. The color of an opponent’s skin, their country of origin, or social class have nothing to do with the skills they can bring to the table.

The victims, families, and heroes of September 11th, 2001 live on in our hearts forever. God Bless You!