Freedom is not free- Remembering September 11th 2001

My shipmate and mentor, CDR Dan Shanower died at the Pentagon on the morning of September 11th, 2001. I served with him on the Staff of COMMANDER THIRD FLEET in San Diego until 2000, when I left Active Duty for the Navy Reserve. At start of the work day, we used to greet each other with “Greetings, Warrior”, and some small talk before delving into the issues of the day. When I joined the Reserve in 2000 soon after leaving Active Duty, I was more interested in preserving my investment of 14 years service. Over the next several months I met Chiefs and Officers serving in the Reserve who were no less professionals in uniform than in civilian life. These Chiefs became my mentors. In the last 8 years, many of the Sailors they mentored left their jobs and families to serve in this Global War on Terror. Across the nation, while some cowered and some capitulated, others decided this nation is worth defending.

From the beginning, when our men and women in uniform went into harms way – they did so with the knowledge that preserving freedom comes with a price. Politicians, pundits, “journalists”, anarchists, the homeless as well as the best that America has produced, are all protected by the Warriors: our military, police, and emergency responders. In times of crisis, the best of people offset the worst that people are capable of. Thank you, Warriors, for your service. And in my opinion, if there is anyone who has the right to be critical of , or to be praising this nation’s policies and culture, it is the Warrior. Hail, Warrior, Rest in Peace. Your Brothers and Sisters Stand the Watch.

Read the full text of CDR Shanower’s essay published in Proceedings.

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