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Sept. 11 Special E-Memo:
Honoring Our Men & Women in Uniform

By Dan Bobinski

USS Elliot (DD-967)
USS Elliot (DD-967)
Twenty years ago, in 1983, when I was serving in the US Navy “somewhere in the pacific ocean,” I was standing watch in the engine room onboard the destroyer USS Elliot. I remember it was more hot and humid than normal, and our long deployment was getting me down. I was feeling pretty sorry for myself. It wasn’t just a pity party—It was a gala event: The many days out at sea getting to me.

USS Ranger (CV-61)
USS Ranger (CV-61)
Then, out of the steady, loud, droning noise that normally fills the engine room, I heard the commanding officer’s voice come over the ship’s loudspeaker system: A fire had broken out aboard the USS Ranger and eight men died while trying to put it out.

Suddenly I wasn’t feeling so sorry for myself.

Men who were standing watch just like I was were faced with the daunting task of putting out a shipboard fuel fire, and some of them did not survive.

I think of them once in a while, and the sacrifice they made so that others could live. And two years ago on this day, when terrorism claimed the lives of more than 2800 people, 430 uniformed firefighters and policemen were killed – not running from the flames, but running toward them.

September 11, 2001
Let’s pause this day to give thanks and offer prayers for those people who put their own lives on the line every time they go to work. Policemen and firemen who protect us here in our own country, and the men and women of our armed forces, who put their lives on the line while fighting the war against terrorism.

People in uniform don’t get rich by doing what they’re doing. And the sacrifice they make—plus the way they put themselves between us and danger—needs to be recognized more often than it is.

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© 2003 Dan Bobinski / Leadership Development. Dan Bobinski is President of Leadership Development. He can be reached at (208) 375-7606 or by Email at dan@leadershipanswers.com.

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