Senator Rick Olseen Column

Tuesday, September 9th, 2008 at 11:11 am

As we approach Sept. 11, I’ve been thinking a lot about how the
anniversary of this sorrowful day in American history is now referred to
as “Patriot Day.” I’m sure the day was given this name to pay
tribute to the thousands who lost their lives and the brave first
responders who risked their own to rescue their countrymen. Looking
back, we all remember what we were doing when we heard the news of the
terrorist attacks, the numerous selfless acts in the aftermath, the
feeling of national solidarity, and grieving along with the families who
lost their loved ones. It is fitting and appropriate that we pause to
remember these events and individuals, which showcase our national
resolve and American spirit.

Then, when thinking further about Patriot Day, I realize it is not only
those who defend or lose their lives on behalf of our nation that can be
called patriots, but anyone who in their daily life stands up for our
great American ideals.

The teacher who stays after school to help a student with their math
homework, so they can reach their full potential, is an American
patriot. The citizen who serves as an election judge and helps others
participate in our democracy brings pride to our nation. The volunteer
who collects hats and mittens so local children will not go cold this
winter is also a hero. The concerned parent who writes their elected
official with ideas on how to improve the safety of their community is a
great American. And the neighbor who offers a helping hand with a ride
to the doctor’s office or an hour of babysitting is a patriot.

This is America-where we are free, where every voice is heard, and
where everyone has the opportunity to succeed. This American dream is
what inspires our brave troops to risk their lives to defend our country
overseas so we all may continue this great way of life. It is also for
these reasons that we love our country and engage in everyday acts of
patriotism. On Sept. 11, we needn’t only think about the tragedy that
occurred seven years ago, but the patriots in your life that help our
country fulfill our promise and ideals.

In conclusion, I’d like to use this opportunity to pay my respects to
Alice Wilcox, a great patriot and friend. Alice recently passed away
after suffering a stroke. She was one of our area’s last
“historical residents;” she and her husband were full-time
farmers and business owners, raising a large and well-known family. She
contributed much to the Sunrise community, whether it be through her
involvement in her church, volunteering for town efforts or events, or
just being there as a friend to her neighbors. Her kind presence will
be greatly missed.

I encourage you to contact me with your questions or comments on any
issue. You may call me at 651-296-5419, send an e-mail to
, or write to G-24 State Capitol, St. Paul, MN

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