Kris's full speech from the Memorial Ceremony at Patriot's Park in Venice, FL
This 15th Anniversary of the deplorable events of September 11th 2001 remind me why this park . . . these granite and steel structures are so vital to our nation, to our very souls.
Absent a personal connection – the loss of a family member, a dear friend, a colleague . . . time can diminish the clarity of events even as horrible as those of 9/11.
On February 22nd 2007 my son, Army Ranger SSG Joshua Ryan Hager, was killed in action in Iraq. His desire to deploy was part of the response our nation took in the aftermath of 9/11. I will never forget the very moment I heard the words, “We Lost Him” and knew Josh was gone, but even my memory of the events and horror of September 11th have faded with time.
I need this place so I know my son gave his life and then his death to protect us all. I need this granite and steel so my resolve stays firm when depression lurks, for the anguish of losing my son never gets better . . . it gets different.
I need to remember so I can teach my son Carson, now 7 years old, how his brother Lived and Died. It is for our children and grandchildren that this place must stand strong and is blessed!
In a 5 year time period I lost a wife to breast cancer, found new love, lost everything in a bankruptcy, my son was killed, my father passed away, I was blessed with my son Carson, my mother-in-law died of cancer and we fought to rebuild our lives.
Through this I realized that the only way to survive was to live in the moment . . . to live 5 minutes at a time.
Whether your world is crumbling and you can only make it for 5 minutes more OR life is going well and you don't want to miss a precious moment, being present is VITAL!
This led to a personal realization . . .
We must USE the tragedies and pain . . . for if we don't “Use It” the adversity will have been for naught.
So let us treasure the precious moments and USE the tragedy of 9/11 and all the joys and sorrows that followed to shape a better America . . . a land where “In God We Trust” is once again our foundation.
In honoring those who lost there lives on September 11th 2001 and those who gave and give their lives fighting for this great nation, let us teach and inspire generations to strengthen their love of God, Family and Country. . . to never forget and always remember!
God Bless America!