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Heartland shines in wake of tragedy

By By Sherry Digmon
Staff Writer
The week after the attack on America, I had the good fortune, along with a friend, to go through the Midwest. We had planned this vacation months ago, but the timing could not have been better.
On the Tuesday following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, we were standing at the foot of Mt.Rushmore. It was an incredible time to be an American at that place.
Throughout 14 states, we saw signs that America was coming back, and maybe, just maybe, our faith was coming back too.
At a car wash, "Support our US government"
At an ice cream store, "America stands united as one family under God"
At a chiropractor's office, "Seek the Lord and He will heal our land. 2 Chron. 7:14"
On a piece of heavy equipment, a hand painted sign, "Pull together America"
At a car dealership, "God bless America"
Perhaps the most poignant was at a church.The sign read simply, "Pray."
We saw dozens, perhaps hundreds, of signs on every kind of business.
Throughout the Midwest, flags were on everything you can imagine. In Louisiana, a piece of heavy machinery, part of a highway crew, had a large flag waving from the back. Near Wichita, a flag flew from the top of an asphalt plant. Flags were draped over fences. They were hung out of high rise windows. They were on shirts and jackets, car antennas and motorcycles . We tried to buy red, white and blue ribbon to hang from our antenna, but there was none to be found. The stores couldn't keep any in stock.
A gruff-voiced radio disc jockey in Louisiana said he cries now when he hears patriotic songs. An Illinois high school senior was quoted as saying, "I never knew before what it meant to be an American. Now I do."
I'm sure that anyone traveling anywhere in the United States encountered the same show of patriotism and faith as we did. I imagine the signs and flags will be even more prevalent now that we have started the process of wiping out terrorism in this world.
The bombing started Sunday. I've wondered if there is significance to that since Sunday is our holy day, and our enemies are declaring this a holy war.
Now, we shift our focus from the victims and families of the attack to our military personnel who are in harm's way.
Our prayers go up for them and their families, for our leaders, for the innocent people a world away who are caught in this conflict.
I'm sure more signs will be posted. More flags will be displayed.
But you won't find a more glorious, more impressive flag than the one flying at Atmore City Hall.
Appropriately, it flies from the ladder of a fire truck, a tribute to the men and women who gave their lives in an attempt to save others in New York. It's also a tribute to those who have worked day and night in an effort to rescue, and now recover, the victims. Mayor Howard Shell told me recently that a few people have left little remembrances, such as candles, around the fire truck.
Now, the flag waves as a reminder that we have men and women on foreign soil so that our flag will continue to wave over the land of the free and the home of the brave.
God bless America.
Sherry Digmon is a staff writer for The Atmore Advance. Contact her by e-mail at sherry.digmon@atmoreadvance.com or call 368-2123.