When the unimaginable happens, it shakes us from what can seem like a slumber and awakens us to a new and strange and terrible world.

Such was the case this week.

But prior to Sept. 11, 2001, we werent asleep. We werent ignorant, naive, innocent or spoiled.

We were living the sort of life our forefathers wanted for us, the sort of life we all desire for our children and our childrens children.

That life is not gone. If it were, you wouldnt feel that pull in the pit of your gut every time you think about what happened Tuesday, the need to defend something special and sacred and unique but the absence of power to do anything.

Your life is not insignificant or any less meaningful because all you could do today was get up and go to work or school.

Because that is America, and this is still America.

If you need a reminder, or just need to celebrate that which is America, we have a simple prescription.

It is the medicine of patriotism, community spirit and good sportsmanship.

It is high school football.

Professional and college football games have been cancelled in the wake of Tuesdays terrorist attack.

High School teams in the Greater Oregon League, however, will play.

And for that, we thank them.

When these young men take the field tonight, they wont be the subject of some distant hero worship or pride in your alma mater.

They are your sons, your grandsons, your friends, your neighbors.

Your teammates, gentlemen.

The game of football is one governed by rules of conduct and sportsmanship.

It is one where it doesnt matter whether you win or lose.

It is how you play the game.

In any normal fall, all over America, communities gather in football stadiums to cheer for the home team.

Stadium lights and blankets and hot cocoa baseball and apple pie arent alone in the pantheon of all-American flavors.

Tonight, we gather on what has been declared by Pres. George W. Bush as a national day of prayer.

Different religions have different ways of offering up prayer. No one religions prayer is more appropriate than another.

However, in what religious historians call Americas civil religion, we do all share a common hymnal.

We dont want to step on the toes of a vocal soloist or the high school band.

But tonight when Baker High School takes the field against Umatilla, wed like to suggest we join our voices and all sing our National Anthem.