As Americans, it’s important to never forget what happened on that life-changing day in September 2001.
That day shaped not only how we acted on September 11, 2001, but today, twelve years later, as we remain a changed country and culture.
Coach Gary Pinkel sat down in the Veterans United Home Loans studio with veterans and soldiers to discuss this idea and more in a Google+ Hangout. Because this Hangout discusses not only football, but something much more important, it’s called the “Heroes Hangout with Gary Pinkel.” The title recognizes those who have served in the military, are currently serving and will serve in the future.
Having his father and brother-in-law serve in the military, Pinkel understands the sacrifices and the notion of “fixing it,” as he put it.
Joining Pinkel were members from various branches of the military, both past and current.
Among the heroes in attendance were Vietnam Veteran Chuck Smith, retired Twelfth Sergeant Major of the Army Jack Tilly, Mizzou Defensive Coordinator and Marine Dave Steckel, Air Force retiree Rob Smith, active Sergeant Tim Glavin and Ninth Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy James Herdt.
Both Coach Pinkel and the Mizzou Football Family are proud and grateful for the work these men have done as well as for taking the time to make an appearance on the Google Hangout.
Like many of us, each of these men remembered where they were when they heard about—or experienced—9/11.
Both Jack Tilly and Rob Smith were present or nearby the Pentagon when the plane attacks occurred. What stuck with Smith was the love, compassion and organization of Pentagon employees and crew as they made their way out of the building, as they took care of each other and found safety.
We commemorate those who put efforts forward to save lives, and we also want to remember the victims of the terrorist attacks and their families.
So how does this relate to football?
Pinkel made a connection with the leadership, organization and game plan needed to get people to safety and to recognize those fallen. He talked about his father, who was in the military, and said that when things got rough, his dad told him: “Fix it.”
Like any problem in life, there is a solution to be found. The simple command of “fixing it” might not always be easy, but at the end of the day, the reason we train and try to become better is to achieve that very task.
The mentality of pushing forward, like the heroes of 9/11, is also found on the football field. Persistence is key. You have to be able to say, “We will get through this.”
Another thank you to all the service men and women who have dedicated their lives to protecting this country. As Pinkel put it, our freedom is fragile and not something that should be taken for granted.
We must look deeper to see that men and women have died to protect our rights. Freedom is easy to take it for granted.
Although we can never thank those who served enough, we can show them respect and gratitude for their selfless actions.
To service members everywhere, you are not—and will not be—forgotten. Fallen or still with us, your sacrifices will live on in all of us, even when we forget what has been done for us in our day-to-day lives. Without you, this country could not be what it is.
So, to end it, go Mizzou! And more importantly, God bless all service men and women. You bestow protection and freedom on our country that we take for granted far too often.