Pat Kerrigan’s Speech At The “Spirit Of America” Picnic In Santa Rosa – Saturday, September 22, 2001

“GOOD AFTERNOON. MY NAME IS PAT KERRIGAN. I DO THE MORNING SHOW ON Q105, BUT I SPEAK TO YOU TODAY AS A LONG TIME MEMBER OF THIS MARVELOUS COMMUNITY, AND AS A MINISTER.

TODAY IS THE FIRST DAY OF FALL: IT IS A CHANGE OF SEASONS. BUT GIVEN THE EVENTS OF ELEVEN DAYS AGO, IT IS, MORE IMPORTANTLY, A SEASON OF CHANGE.

ELEVEN DAYS AGO TERRORISTS BOARDED OUR OWN PLANES, FILLED WITH OUR OWN CITIZENS, AND USED THEM AS INSTRUMENTS OF TERROR. THESE ACTS OF HORROR MELTED STEEL BUILDINGS, VAPORIZED CEMENT WALLS, AND TOOK THE LIVES OF THOSE GLORIOUS CITIZENS AND SO MANY OTHERS IN THEIR WAKE.

THEIR GOAL? TO BRING AMERICA TO ITS KNEES. AND THEY ACCOMPLISHED THAT. BUT NOT IN THE WAY THEY INTENDED.

WE FELL TO OUR KNEES FIRST IN STUNNED DISBELIEF. WE FELL TO OUR KNEES IN PARALYZED FEAR. WE FELL TO OUR KNEES IN PROFOUND SADNESS. AND THEN WE FELL TO OUR KNEES TO PRAY.

WE FOUND GOD, SOMEHOW MISSING IN ACTION IN OUR YEARS OF COMPLACENCY. EACH IN OUR OWN WAY, WE PRAYED. WE PRAYED FOR PEOPLE WE HAD NEVER SEEN, AND NEVER KNOWN. WE PRAYED FOR THOSE WHO HAD BEEN LOST IN A STRUGGLE WE NEVER SAW COMING. WE PRAYED FOR THOSE WHO LOVED THEM AND THOSE MIRACLE WORKERS WHO CONTINUE TO TRY AND SAVE THEM.

IT IS A SEASON OF CHANGE…

THOSE WHO PERPETRATED THESE DEEDS SOUGHT TO BRING US TO OUR KNEES. AND THEY SUCCEEDED IN A WAY THAT NO ONE COULD HAVE IMAGINED.

AND THEN WE ROSE FROM OUR KNEES, AND THE FIRST THING WE DID WHEN WE GOT TO OUR FEET WAS REACH OUT TO ONE ANOTHER.

WE EMERGED FROM OUR HOMES AND TALKED TO PEOPLE WALKING DOWN THE STREET. WE MADE EYE CONTACT WITH EVERYONE WHO CROSSED OUR PATH. WE ASKED “HOW ARE YOU” AND FOR THE FIRST TIME IN YEARS WE WERE INTERESTED IN THE ANSWER. WE HONKED OUR HORNS AT THOSE VEHICLES THAT CARRIED THE AMERICAN FLAG. WE LIT CANDLES, AND STOOD TOGETHER IN THE KIND OF UNITY THAT WE DON’T REMEMBER EVER HAVING.

WE FOUND AS WE STOOD THAT WE WERE BETTER HUMAN BEINGS THAN WE HAD EVER BEEN BEFORE. WE FOUND THAT THE LAYERS OF HARDENED HUMANITY THAT STOOD BETWEEN US WERE GONE. AND IN THE RAWNESS OF OUR EMOTION WE STOOD TOGETHER, SHOULDER TO SHOULDER, TO REACH OUT.

IT IS NOT ENOUGH THAT WE DO THIS IN HEART, WE MUST DO IT IN DEED. IT USED TO BE THAT OUR NEIGHBORS WERE THE PEOPLE WHO LIVED NEXT DOOR. NO MORE. OUR NEIGHBORS NOW STRETCH ACROSS THIS FIELD, ACROSS OUR STATE, ACROSS OUR NATION AND NOW, ACROSS THE WORLD. BUT IT IS NOT ENOUGH THAT WE DO THIS IN HEART. WE MUST DO IT IN DEED.

WE ROSE TO OUR FEET, AND I ASK YOU NOW TO RISE TO YOUR FEET FOR A MOMENT. TURN TO YOUR NEW NEIGHBOR, SOMEONE YOU DO NOT KNOW. INTRODUCE YOURSELF, AND SAY “I WILL WATCH OUT FOR YOU.” WE WILL NOT BE DISCONNECTED, NOT FROM THE WORLD, NOT FROM OUR COUNTRY AND NEVER FROM EACH OTHER. AND THERE IS NO VICTORY GREATER THAN THIS.

WE WILL NOT BE BROKEN. IT IS A SEASON OF CHANGE.

AS WE BEGIN TO STEP FORWARD WE CONTINUE TO PRAY. FOR OUR LEADERS, WE PRAY THAT THEY ACT DELIBERATELY…AND SPECIFICALLY, BECAUSE WE WILL NOT SINK TO THE LEVEL OF BARBARISM THAT WAS PERPETRATED AGAINST US.

WE ARE AMERICANS.

WE WILL CONTINUE TO STAND TALL. WE WILL RAISE MONEY FOR THOSE WHO NEED IT, AS WE ARE DOING TODAY. WE WILL NOT FAIL TO REACH OUT WITH OUR HEARTS AND OUR HANDS.

WE ARE AMERICANS.

WE WILL BOARD PLANES, WE WILL SPEND OUR MONEY TO SHORE UP THIS NATION’S ECONOMY. WE WILL NOT STAND IDLE.

WE ARE AMERICANS.

WE WILL RAISE OUR FLAGS AND RAISE OUR SPIRITS. WE WILL NEVER ABANDON EACH OTHER. NOT A WEEK FROM NOW, OR A YEAR FROM NOW, OR AN ETERNITY FROM NOW.

WE ARE AMERICANS.

WE ARE NOT YOUNG OR OLD, NOT RICH OR POOR.

WE ARE AMERICANS.

WE ARE NOT GAY OR STRAIGHT, NOT BLACK OR WHITE.

WE ARE AMERICANS.

WE ARE NOT CHRISTIAN…OR JEWISH….OR MUSLIM.

WE ARE AMERICANS.

AND WE ARE THE BEST WE HAVE EVER BEEN.

GOD BLESS US, EVERY ONE.”