THOUGHTS ON SEPT. 11
Here is a copy of what I wrote for Weapons of Mass Discussion
I can still remember where I was on that day two years ago. I was in my first year of full-time teaching. It was second block, and I had a crew of Govt. Seniors who had just gotten back from their summer trip. Their trip was to New York and the Twin Towers.
At first, I thought it was a joke when a student came running into the trailer where I was teaching and said to turn on the TV. I thought it was a setup from the office assistants to help their senior friends. However, I turned on the TV, and my world and the world of my students was laid waste before our eyes. It was after both planes had hit the Towers, but before the Pentagon attack.
We watched in horror as they replayed the two impacts over and over. I could feel the anger of my students and my own rising. However, being conditioned to be 'fair minded' I told students to reserve judgement. However, when the Pentagon was hit, and the more we studied the video from the Towers together, it was clear: America was in a war. We quickly found out about Osama bin Laden. These seniors who I were teaching cried openly, and I did my best to comfort them.
Over the next few weeks, they resumed their routines. But all of them, and myself included, would never forget. We had seen the most dastardly attack in history and were waiting to do something about it.
Since then, I have lost my job for being, among other things; too patriotic, too pro-Bush, and for being too concerned for my students (some crime, eh?). That senior class is now in its second year of post high school life. America has had the two greatest victories in warfare in its history, outflanking even the Gulf War of 1991. We have gone farther, faster, than any military in history, with fewer casualties in history. We have liberated two countries under the heel of brutal rulers. We have eliminated many terrorist threats and thwarted hundreds. However, more and more, I feel America is forgetting today's significance.
How are we forgetting? For one, I see fewer and fewere symbols of patriotism, and more efforts at silencing voices of patriotism. I see America falling back into isolation, falling back into self-interest, and falling back into apathy. Today, several people did not even mark the significance, and I actually had to remind them what today was. What a shame!
Sept. 11, 2001 is a date that should be marked. It should be emblazoned on the heart of every American. Are we so stunned we would rather forget than remember and let the battle cry of "Let's Roll!" from Flight 93 go unheeded? I fear that is what is happening, as more people of influence come out against efforts at fighting the war on terror.
Why did we go to Afghanistan? We went because Osama was there, but also to free the Afghans, many of whom fought against Soviet oppression, from the Fundamentalist oppression of the Taliban. We fought to remove that threat from hurting us. And we succeeded. The Taliban was toppled and Osama is on the run. If we had more assistance from France and Germany and the world, perhaps bin Laden would be dead by now. However, we have had to pretty much go it alone in the search, with help from some of our allies.
Why did we go to Iraq? We went to Iraq because with 9/11, the time for idle threats was over. We could no longer simply tell the evil ones that if they did not comply we would threaten to use force. We needed to show the world our resolve in the fight for freedom and democracy. We needed to root out another great ally of terror, the Hussein family. And you know what? Despite the doomsayers who said it would be Vietnam (they said the same about Afghanistan), we have lost so few soldiers, and we have destroyed Iraq's ability to hurt us as a nation. Today, Iraqis have the same freedom of speech that we do, as evidence by over 100 free newspapers being started in Iraq. We have set free millions from the brutal rule of tyrants.
Why mention these things on 9/11? The reason is that we fought these battles in the War on Terrorism to avenge and honor those lost to the attacks. This war on terrorism is the vindication of those deaths, and I can think of few better memorials than a free Iraq and Afghanistan. However, it is more than that. 9/11 changed the rules of the world. It is no longer a battle of nation vs. nation or capitalism vs. communism, or even liberalism vs. conservatism; it is now a battle of civilization vs. evil and chaos. It is no less than a battle for our way of life and the cause of freedom around the world we are talking about. If we turn tail and run now, we are practically spitting on the graves of the victims of 9/11 and also the men and women who have died already in helping to secure the blessings of liberty not only to ourselves and our posterity, but also to the peoples of Iraq and Afghanistan. We cannot turn tail and run from terror.
We have been attacked. The sleeping giant has been awakened. We cannot allow ourselves to fall asleep again. Civilization hangs in the balance. Hearing the children of the victims reading their names brought this home: if we want them to grow up more secure and free, then we have to keep on fighting. We have to keep on flying our flags and showing the evil ones that we do not run away under adversity. We do not cower. We strike back, and for those people oppressed we bring food, mercy, and freedom.
Our nation was tested on Sept. 11, 2001. We passed that test. We passed with flying colors as people who had no reason to work together did so. We flew our flags and we said our prayers and we pledged allegiance. Now, two years later, we face a test no less great. We face the test of remembering our duty and pledges to honor the victims and bring justice to the evildoers. We face a test of falling back into taking America for granted, of flaunting our freedoms rather than protecting them, of rolling back instead of "Let's Roll." We must pass this test. Civilization and our duty and honor hang in the balance. We owe no less to the victims and the brave men and women who fought to rescue them. We owe no less to the brave souls killed in fighting for freedom already. We must make sure the final chapter is written with vindication, freedom, and glory; we do not want it written with more terrorism and backing down.
God bless each and everyone out there, God bless our soldiers, defending us here and abroad. God bless the firefighters and police officers and their families, both living and sacrificed. God bless our leaders, and may God always bless the United States of America.
Here is a letter I submitted to be published by my local paper (will update if actually published)
As I write this, it is the eve of the 2nd Anniversary of the most tragic attack on America since Pearl Harbor, that being September 11, 2001. I hope everyone can remember where they were and how they felt on that day, and how we all wanted to get at those who did this to our country.
However, I believe many of us have forgotten the feelings of that day. I think lack of reminders and time have lulled many of us into amnesia. I say this because I am shocked at what I read and see and hear from the media about the War on Terrorism. Many people are questioning our President’s ability and resolve in this endeavor. Many of those people point to Iraq and mouth the word ‘Vietnam.’ They complain about the deaths of so many soldiers in Iraq in the last few months and the expense of rebuilding the country. People are turning on our President, in spite of the fact that he has done so much to thwart terrorism.
I believe much of the criticism is not anything but politics. Mr. Bush is a Republican, and the liberal leftists and Democrats are upset because he has followed through on all he has promised, including an improving economy. They are upset that Mr. Bush has remained popular, so they continue to bash him, even though he has delivered on all promises. What saddens me is that so many Americans are falling prey to the dogma put out by those who seek political gain.
What many people do not realize is that this is a different kind of war from any other we have fought. It is a war that will not end on Mr. Bush’s watch as President. It is no less as great a conflict as the fight against communism that we fought in the Cold War from the 1940s until the late 1980s. It was another Republican who made that war winnable, Mr. Ronald Reagan. That President, also, was much maligned as spending too much money and such. However, his tactics worked. The economy improved despite a brief recession, and for a time the world knew that America was vigilant and on guard. The same thing is happening now. Despite the improvement in the economy we can see, and despite the FACT that we have liberated two nations, enemies of the President are trying to undermine national defense for the sake of politics. We cannot let that happen.
Then, however, the US gained a black eye. That, friends, was Bill Clinton. Mr. Clinton was more concerned with hiding scandal and public perception than defending our country. As early as 1993, Osama bin Laden attacked US interests, with the first World Trade Center bombing. Mr. Clinton did not even visit the site where many died and thousands were injured. He did not see the devastation in the garage of the center. Instead, he worried and fretted over the economy and meanwhile, Osama grew stronger. Mr. Clinton was warned time and again, and what happened? Nothing. Osama grew stronger, and we continued to view him as a criminal, not a threat to national security. Mr. Clinton was offered many times bin Laden on a silver platter by the country of Sudan and the country of Qatar. He did nothing. He could have captured the mastermind of 9/11 years before the plan. Yet, he did nothing. However, he still remains a popular, if maligned President. The reason is that the media loved him, and did nothing to show his inadequacies and lack of concern about the threat of terrorism.
Now, some of Clinton’s allies are seeking to get rid of another President. This President actually went to the disaster site, and he vowed to get the animals who struck at us. Mr. Bush met with the survivors of the disaster. He took the time to see the devastation, he felt the loss. He vowed that we would take the battle to the terrorists, and we are doing so. It is tragic that American soldiers die, but they believe in the Commander-in-Chief for the first time since Reagan. These soldiers are committed to the mission and know that we are liberating people who were subjected to rape, torture, and murder. Yes, there are pockets of resistance in ISOLATED areas, but the media and the enemies of national security act as if it is widespread. We are going to have to lose people, and this war will cost money. However, is it not worth it to protect the men, women, and children of America, and the instruments which keep us free? Some have said the war takes money away from other programs. Which is more important, programs or the very security and well being of our citizens? There have been hundreds of terrorist plots thwarted since 9/11 and hundreds of terrorists have been captured. We are winning. However, we must not back away now. We have to support national security, because this is a war we are fighting for no less than civilization and our way of life.
We cannot simply forget the fervor and patriotism we felt in the immediate days after 9/11. We cannot let celebrities who know nothing shape our opinions in that we are doing wrong. We cannot let others tell us that our patriotism is bad and we must now shy away from defending America. We cannot forget that thousands of people’s lives were lost or changed forever. We cannot become so lost again that we will be caught unawares. We must never forget; and we must honor the memories of the victims. The best way to do that is by fighting evil and terrorism wherever it may be across the world. We must tell the world that it is now a time of either being for civilization and progress, or it is a time of being for terror and chaos and evil. The lines are being drawn. Do not let America be caught on the sidelines again. We owe it to the victims never to let down those who gave their lives in pursuit of the American dream.
Now, we are engaged in a war to see which ideas will be advanced: those of peace through strength, democracy, and freedom; or the ideas of chaos and terror. If we let our guards down now, we will let down those brave men and women who have given their all over our long history. We cannot go back. We must go forward and see this through. May God bless our President, our soldiers, and may He Always Bless the United States of America!
"Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with me....." Psalm 23