By Mike Giles / Outdoors Writer
Mike Giles ©
As the eastern sky lit up the pre-dawn darkness with a brilliant orange hue I sent my first cast across the river. A split second later I felt the tap of a striped bass striking my hand-tied striper jig in the white water of the Ross Barnett Reservoir spillway. As I snapped the rod back and drove the steel home the monster striped bass dove for the sanctuary of the rock strewn river bottom and fought savagely for his freedom. Alas, it was not to be on this day, however, as I quickly turned the lunker bass around and worked him back to the rocky shoreline.
After landing and admiring the fish a minute I released him to grow up some more and bite another day. I was home once again, in my element catching monster striped bass on a cool fall morning and all was well with my world. God had truly blessed me once again. God bless America.
After catching quite a few stripers and introducing a friend to the fine art of striper fishing at the spillway waters it was time to hit the road and head to work. Stopping off at the local McDonalds on Spillway Road for a quick sausage and biscuit, we pulled into the drive-through lane to order. My partner got a phone call that I’ll never forget. “What? A plane flew into the World Trade Center?” he asked his wife on the other end. As they continued talking he relayed her next words, “Another plane just hit the other tower?” I knew at that moment that we were under attack, but by whom, how many and how big was yet to be determined.
As we quickly made our way through the line we went back to my friend’s home and watched events unfold on television. Reports were coming in from all around the country of other instances of attack from an unknown foe. For the first time in my lifetime we were being attacked on our home soil by foreign invaders. God bless America, was repeated over and over on the radio on this day. And God has blessed America more than any country in the world.
But now a sense of panic swept the country and rumors of gas shortages sent people to the gas stations in long lines. As I traveled to Kosciusko and back through Philadelphia on my way back home to Meridian, stations were already out of gas, and the streets were empty by early afternoon, as people hunkered down and prepared for the worst. Millions of people sat transfixed in front of their televisions as the events unfolded in front of our unbelieving eyes. Like many people I was horrified to see video of people fleeing the Twin Towers, many jumping to their deaths to escape the flames inside. Then we were stunned to see the towers come crashing down, killing thousands of people. God bless America.
Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. “It must be fought for, protected, and passed on for them to do the same,” said Ronald Reagan. Now it was our time to respond and respond we did!
And then came the news of a plane crashing into the Pentagon. We had become the victims of a well-coordinated attack. Next we learned that United Airlines Flight 93 had been hijacked and was being used as a missile heading towards our nation’s capital. Todd Beamer, a passenger on the flight, relayed information to a GTE operator. After hearing of the other flights’ demise, Beamer and the passengers made a decision to overcome the terrorists and fly the plane into the ground to save lives. “The phone line from Flight 93 was still open when a GTE operator heard Todd Beamer say: ‘Are you guys ready? Let’s roll” Todd Beamer and the other heroes on Flight 93 gave their lives for our country and very likely saved much more carnage and loss of life in the process. God bless America and the heroes and families of Flight 93.
Some say that it is bad to use the word terrorist; that we don’t want to inflame the situation. Soon after the tragedy, it was said that the videos of the twin towers burning was not good, that it inflamed our relationship with our foes, so they removed it from the airways. On the contrary, the terrorists had struck at the heart of our country, wounding us deep down in our hearts. Ten years later I choose to remember the heroes of Flight 93 and the policemen and fire fighters and others who charged into the flames to save lives. And I will not forget the thousands of others who lost their lives that day. I pray that God will bless America again.
As I stalk through the woods in search of game and ply the waters for fish and fowl this fall, I will be thankful for those who gave all for me and I will never forget. To those who would have us give up our hunting rifles, freedom, and lie down and be overtaken by our aggressors I stand firm- NOT ON OUR WATCH. I will stand up against the tyranny of any man or government that dares make us slaves of a foreign leader or state. I thank God for men like James Patrick Nolen, George Bush, Todd Beamer, and Tommy Horne, who all fought the good fight. Our country was founded by independent rugged individualists such as Patrick Henry who laid it all on the line in the face of overwhelming odds. And God blessed America.
"Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God. I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!" – Patrick Henry, speech in the Virginia Convention, March 23, 1775.
In the years that have passed since that fateful September 11, I have hunted and fished around this great land and harvested fish and game and enjoyed our bountiful outdoors and wildlife. And I remember the human sacrifices still, and I wonder if others still remember
As I participate in a dove hunt this Saturday with friends and family I will remember the men and women who have gone before us, and pray that God will bless America again, and that America will bless God!
Contact Mike Giles at 601-917-3898
or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org