Have you forgotten the significance of today?
Have you forgotten where you were? What you were wearing? What your reaction was when you heard the news? What you felt in your stomach when you saw the fireball? When you saw the towers fall?
Have you forgotten hearing about another plane crashing into the Pentagon? And another in a field in Pennsylvania? And wondering silently “How many more planes will be hijacked today? How many more people will die? Who is doing this? Why? Am I in danger? Is my family safe?”
Have you forgotten?
For a moment we all stood in shocked silence. For a moment, we all felt the same outrage and horror that we as a nation felt when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. For a moment, our nation was united.
Then just a few days later when the shock had worn off, people started asking the inevitable question of “why”. And that is when that national unity began to fall apart.
The Ward Churchills and Michael Moores and Keith Olbermanns and Reverend Wrights saw the situation as an opportunity. Whatever they opposed — Jews, Republicans, America itself — they were able to point to New York and Washington D.C. and that field in Pennsylvania and say “See? People around the world hate the Jews!” or: “See? This happened because of failed Republican leadership!” or: “See? This happened because of failed American foreign policy! People hate us!” Whatever their axe to grind, 9/11 became their whetstone.
Over time, their hatred spilled over onto television screens. It spilled off the pages of magazines and newspapers. It spilled off websites on the internet and out of email inboxes. Hatred of this group or that group. Hatred of this policy or that decision or something that happened ten, twenty, or two hundred years ago that are irrelevant now.
All of this hatred combined to try and make us feel guilty for being who we are, for whatever reason. And all of this hatred took focus off the most important fact of 9/11: we were attacked. We were attacked by radical Islam, and it is not the first attack in their war against us, just the bloodiest.
From attacking our shipping in the Mediterranean during Thomas Jefferson’s watch, to the Iranian hostage Crisis during President Carter, the Beirut Embassy Bombing during President Reagan, and the 1993 WTC bombing, Khobar Towers bombing, and USS Cole bombings during President Clinton our country has been under attack by radical Islamists who are attacking us simply because we’re not like them.
September 11th should be seen as our wake-up call: these people will not stop until we capitulate. Or are dead. This is not a political issue. This is not a political party issue. This is an issue of national security and national survival.
So take this day to remember the promises you made to yourself on September 12, 2001. Take this day to pick up a copy of United 93 and re-live the terror of that day. Take this day to read The Falling Man. Take this day to remember the fear, the terror, the sadness, the horror and the outrage. Take this day to remind yourself that we’re still at war and that it can happen again.
May we never forget.