Today is the 11th anniversary of the al-Qaeda terrorist attack on the United States where they used hijacked civilian airliners as cruise missiles. Over three thousand were killed as 2 airliners were crashed into, and destroyed, the World Trade Center towers in lower Manhattan, another airliner crashed into the Pentagon outside Washington DC, and a fourth airliner was prevented from reaching it's Washington DC target by the valiant efforts of the passengers to regain control of the aircraft.
This is the anniversary of the day we were reminded that the world is not a safe place - that evil exists. That there are those who dislike us because of our values, our beliefs, and our freedoms. Where our enemies have no hesitation to use terror / murder to promote their agenda - and consider anyone / everyone a valid target to achieve their goals.
Their targets this day were primarily innocent people who started their day going about their lives - boarding airplanes to travel from one part of the country to another or going to work. Over 400 of those killed were comprised of those who accept the risks to protect and serve our society - the emergency responders and military personnel.
In the Trade Center towers, firefighters, police, EMT's and other emergency personnel ran up the towers as workers evacuated down stairways - and all of these perished when the towers collapsed because of the damage from the crashing aircraft and massive fires they started.
Conditions in the Trade Center towers were such that, dozens if not over a hundred people, trapped and threatened by smoke and flames, chose to leap to their deaths - plummeting 100 stories or more to the ground below. For many watching the live news broadcasts, the horror of the day became real as cameras saw these people take that step and place their lives in the hands of God.
As the day ended, we cried for those lost, we cried for the innumerable acts of bravery and sacrifice that took place, and we cried as three firefighters raised a flag from the devastated Trade Center area in defiance to those who attacked us - or celebrated in the streets as over three thousand died.
For many- politics and petty disagreements took a back seat to the events of the day. Many called the day a 'modern' Pearl Harbor - an act of war against this country - and a unifying act. But there were some of this country who still cheered the attack and attackers - or blamed the attack not on the evil of the attacker, but as a justified counter-strike in response to our actions and policies.
There are those who despise this country and its values of freedom, liberty, and rights to the point that they celebrate the attack. They would prefer to see us forget about this horrific act - and fought to oppose our efforts to make those responsible, as well as those who subscribe and support the ideology which is at war with us.
There are those who castigate us for naming our enemy and calling out the fundamentalist islamofascist ideology that sees itself at war with Western Civilization. They opposed our efforts to attack and attempt to eliminate the threat against us from these groups - whether they are non-government terror organizations like al-Qaeda or Hezbollah or they are states that actively promote and support these organizations - like Afghanistan's Taliban, or Saddam Hussein's Iraq or Iran.
11 years later - we have had some substantial successes in our fight. But our fight is not over - even if political leaders no longer lack the will to oppose the threat or acknowledge that a threat exists. Too many refuse to acknowledge evil or remain willing to confront evil. They believe that evil can be negotiated with and hope that the alligator will eat them last. Others see a common cause - remaking western civilization - and bet that once the common enemy is defeated, they can defeat their former ally....all the while when the fundamentalist islamofascists believe they can easily win that fight.
We are far closer into falling back into a September 10, 2011 mentality than we are of learning the painful lessons of September 11, 2001. If we forget about 9/11 - and the steps which helped facilitate this attack - then we will fail not only those victims, but ourselves and our future.
Not only do we remember - we will not surrender or submit....