Before the dust had settled on Manhattan in September, 2001, our nation’s collective resolve seemed decided, we would find and hold accountable those who used our nation’s freedoms to kill thousands of us.
It was hard to find American flags to fly after that day and every other car was decked out in some manifestation of our patriotism. Like Pearl Harbor, 9/11 steeled our resolve to defend America, but for some, only temporarily. Some in
America now seem to have forgotten we are at war. In an age of near instant gratification of every human need I suppose you could blame that erosion of resolve on our short attention span. Some, in this Presidential election year, have decided to use whatever logic available to undo the election results of 2000. Still others I believe, are dredging up the spirit of the 60s and view fighting tIlis war effort as akin to the ideological pinnacle of their youth, fighting against the Vietnam War. As someone who has proudly worn the unifonn of the United States Air Force I know that no war is good, but some wars simply must be fought if our founding principles are to have any relevance. For me the horror of 9/11 is lasting and I believe there are two very distinct groups of Americans now; the 9/10 Americans in denial and the 9/11 Americans.
The bottom line question every American must answer is this: Are we truly at war? I believe we are in the early stages of a conflagration that could likely be the next World War. It is a war that pits our sense of freedom and justice against those with radical interpretations of a culture intent on our conversion or our demise. In America we invite diversity and are all better for it. In some Mideast nations you are besieged, bombed or beheaded for your diversity. The contrasts are stark and unavoidable, even by those who hate President Bush and all Republicans. Terrorists are cowards who hide behind masks and attack the innocent, The terrorists who attacked in Munich in 1972, the death squads in EI Salvador and Ireland, the bombers of Marine barracks in Beirut, those who blew Pan American flight 747 out of the sky over Lockerbie, Scotland, those who attacked the World Trade Center, twice, those who bombed the federal building in Oklahoma City, those who used Sarin gas in attacks in the Tokyo subways, those who flew loaded planes into the Pentagon and an open field in Pennsylvania those who bombed military housing towers in Saudi Arabia and the V.S.S. Cole, those who blew up commuter Trains in Spain and nightclubs in Bali did not do so because we are Republicans or Democrats, they did so because they fear freedom. They fear the light of truth so they bomb and behead, they attack and retreat, hoping to wear down our will. Today~s terrorists believe and count on all Americans being overweight X-Box players, more interested in fixing the outcome of “American Idolt~ than of defending our freedom. They hold women and children in low esteem and fear seeing others experience the rights all of civilized humanity have come to believe are basic human rights. I pray they are wrong.
Those Americans who fought in WWII are called t11e “greatest generation” because they foWld the will to put their hopes and dreams on hold, to cast aside their political and personal bigoiTies and defend America and what she stands for against all odds. I don’t see that collective spirit in many of to day’s Americans. Many have simply not come to the conclusion that we are at war, for whatever reason. They are content to fight the small, partisan political battles but do not see the Terror War as the terrorists do. Terrorists have declared they intend to fight W1til we are finished, however long that takes. They have the big picture view many Americans lack. I pray that we do not endure more attacks like those of 9/11 before we cast aside our divisions in favor of the concepts that unify America. I pray that happens but in my heart I know more attacks are coming and more deatl1 will be visited upon us because of what we represent.
I am a 9/11 American, I know the world has changed and that Americans must defend America. Everything else we do, everything else we believe, pales in comparison to that duty.