Thursday, September 11, 2008

God Bless America

I've been doing some pondering. I've been pondering the future and I've been pondering the past. Today is somewhat of an important date. It marks exactly one month until I get married and exactly 7 years ago that the twin towers were destroyed by terrorists. My last post was about my thoughts on the former, so I think I'll focus my thoughts on the latter for this post.

Seven years ago today I was in the middle of serving a mission for the LDS church. I was serving in Casper, Wyoming. As you all know, the towers were hit pretty early in the morning. I was just doing my morning routine which means that I was sitting at my desk reading my scriptures. The phone rang and I answered it. It was my zone leaders. They called with a message that I didn't understand, it went something like this. "Elder Stockett, you need to get to a member's house and watch TV." Now, this is not a message you usually hear from your leaders while serving a mission so I questioned them about what the heck was going on. "There's been a terrorist attack, the World Trade Center towers have been destroyed, the Pentagon has been hit and I think they're going to hit the White House next, probably more stuff, we don't know much. We just got a call ourselves and we turned on the radio." I informed them that this wasn't a very funny joke. At this point they stuck the radio up to the phone so that I could hear for myself that they were serious. So we did as we were told and found a place to watch TV. We didn't do much work that day. It seemed pointless, everyone was glued to their TV. But, over the next few weeks we were able to accomplish alot. People were much more willing to open their hearts to God.

Today, as I pondered that experience, it brought back some of the feelings I had that day. I remember thinking that I was so grateful for my freedom. I was grateful for the men and women who were fighting against the evils that were trying to take it from us. I was grateful that we were free to share the gospel. Today I'm grateful that we haven't lost that freedom, despite all the opposition that is out there. I'm grateful that I have the freedom to go the temple with the girl I love and be married to her for eternity. I'm grateful for capitalism and free enterprise which allow me to work to provide for my future family. I hope that we, as a nation, never stop cherishing that freedom that we have.

As I was pondering all these things I pulled some books off my shelf, and I thought I'd share a few things from them. I first want to share a quote from Thomas Paine. Though I don't agree with everything he ever wrote, this quote from "The American Crisis" rings true to me. He said, "Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly:- 'Tis dearness only that gives everything its value. Heaven knows how to set a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed, if so celestial an article as FREEDOM should not be highly rated."

Patrick Henry said, "Is life so dear, or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery?-Forbit it, Almighty God!-I know not what course others may take, but, as for me, give me liberty or give me death."

I've never had to put my life on the line for my freedom and I'm very grateful for those who have done so for me. One way I feel that I can personally fight for freedom is to involve myself in the political process by making myself aware of what candidate will best protect my freedom. I thought about writing some of my thoughts on the upcoming election, but I then thought about how neat it was during the weeks following 9/11 that there were no liberals or conservatives, no Republicans or Democrats, there were just Americans. So, though I will go back to being a conservative tomorrow, and I very well may write about my thoughts on the election in upcoming weeks or months, today I am just proud to be an American and I am grateful to be blessed with freedom.


  1. I was on my mission too, but in South Africa...I have always felt that I wasn't really a part, or truly understood the impact and emotions surrounding 9/11

  2. I feel really good about your thoughts. Freedom is worth the fight, and I will fight that fight. Thanks Jeff.

  3. Beautifully written Jeff. You know it's interesting hearing your story of where you were during 9-11 and everything. It was less than two months after that event that you and Elder Roundy baptized me! Thanks for being such a great missionary.

  4. I really liked this post Jeff... especially the last paragraph. I'm proud to be an American!

  5. I read your post. Reading it and reliving those moments back here at home made me cry. Guess what!! I created my own blogspot.. You'll have to check it out!

  6. I am so glad that we share the same feelings about freedom and the blessing it is in our lives. I am so happy to live in a place where I have the freedoms I do and opertunity before me. I am so blessed to be where I can marry you and raise a family in the gospel. Thanks for the thoughts!

  7. Jeff, your thoughts are profound. I love the part about how you were able to accomplish a lot of work after 911; that people were more willing to open their hearts to God. I wish it didn't always take a crisis to bring people to their knees. It seems many aren't able to remember that desire for a higher power very long after a calamity arises, they too easily forget that the blessings we enjoy come from a loving Father in Heaven who wants so desperately for our well-being.
    Thank you for such thought-provoking words.

  8. Every day that I am here out of the country I see something that makes me glad to be American. Don't get me wrong, I love to experience these new cultures and people everywhere are great, but there is just something about the USA that touches my heart. I have realized I have the best friends and the family in the country and they're in the best country in the world.
    and I'm sure love is cool and stuff. whatever.


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