Remembering 9/11 and the lessons lost since that day

Published 5:02 pm Friday, September 9, 2016

Our View

Most of us recall Sept. 11, 2001 — the day al-Qaida turned airliners into missiles, felling the World Trade Center and punching a hole in the Pentagon. Had it not been for the heroism of passengers over Pennsylvania, we probably could have added the White House to that list.
However, there is a generation of youngsters who are studying about the day and its events as part of their history assignment. They are too young to recall the day. They never experienced the pain and sorrow of that time, nor the eeriness of no planes in the skies in the days that followed. They never saw the patriotism of Americans that followed.
Fifteen years have passed since that fateful day, and the day is an occasion of reflection and mourning for the lives cut short by the violent acts of Islamic extremists.
The 9/11 attacks brought us together as had no outrage since Pearl Harbor. America stood together that fateful day. Red, yellow, black or white — we were all Americans in the days and weeks that followed. We proudly flew the American flag, and America’s first responders, including policemen, became our heroes.
My, how things can change in 15 years.
Today, we are divided as a nation. Our presidential candidates can’t resisting taking barbs at one another. It’s Democrat vs. Republican. The Black Lives Matter movement has taken hold in many cities. Some feel policemen have become our enemies and officers have become the targets of snipers.
Today, the atrocities of Islamic extremists are being carried out in Iraq and Syria. These fanatical Muslims feel they have a divine license to kill anyone who does not practice the “correct” form of Islam. This includes not only Christians and Jews but most other Muslims as well.
The next president of the United States will be faced with how to deal with the Muslim extremists. One thing we do know is that we cannot fight another nation’s war. Southeast Asia is proof of that. We gave the Vietnamese everything they needed except the one thing we couldn’t give: the will to fight.
We are witnessing the same thing in Syria. Rather than staying home to fight for their country, young men by the thousands have fled their country.
However, today we should set aside those concerns and honor the nearly 3,000 people who died that day, many trapped in the collapsing twin towers. More than 200 of the dead were New York firefighters.
The victims of 9/11 came in many forms. Some were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. Others were doing their jobs. Still others simply stepped up, as did the passengers who forced the fourth airliner into a field well short of its goal. All deserve our thanks, as well as our determination that they shall not have died in vain.
Oh, to be a nation united again! How quickly we’ve forgotten what brought us together and what makes us a great nation. It’s not about being Republican nor Democrat nor black or white. It’s about being an American, loving our neighbors, enjoying the freedoms granted by our constitution — freedom of worship, freedom of speech, freedom of a free press, freedom to elect our leaders, and to bear arms, just to name a few. Men and women have died not only at home, but have fought and died on battlefields all across this world to keep America free. This is what 9-11 is all about: Remembering that freedom has a cost and many have paid the price with their lives.
Whatever you are doing today, take a moment to remember that America is more red than anything, stained by the blood of those who died for their country.

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