“The pictures of airplanes flying into buildings, fires burning, huge structures collapsing, have filled us with disbelief, terrible sadness, and a quiet, unyielding anger. These acts of mass murder were intended to frighten our nation into chaos and retreat. But they have failed; our country is strong. A great people has been moved to defend a great nation. Terrorist attacks can shake the foundations of our biggest buildings, but they cannot touch the foundation of America. These acts shattered steel, but they cannot dent the steel of American resolve.”
– President George W. Bush, September 11, 2001 Address to the Nation
Republicans take heat from Democrats anytime they remind the country of the attacks of September 11 — most recently during the Republican Convention. I hope we can all at least agree that on this day we should honor the sacrifice of those who ran into the buildings when everyone else was running out. That kind of bravery and selflessness can be seen in police, firemen, military, and rescue workers serving their communities and country everyday and we can honor those who lost their lives by honoring and supporting those doing such work today.
Whether criticized for it or not, I think it is also important that we remember what it felt like on that day. I was watching the Today Show and saw the second plane hit the tower in real time. I remember shock, disbelief, and sadness, but most of all a vulnerability that did not exist on September 10. That feeling stayed with me for quite some time. I had felt it to a much lesser extent when the WTC was bombed years earlier, but 9/11/01 was, obviously, on a level never before seen in our nation’s history. When I heard the announcement that the Pentagon had been hit as well, and then saw video of the gaping hole, my only thought was “we have been attacked and we are at war.”
That feeling has faded a good deal over the years, since there have been no new attacks on our soil, but we must remember that there are still people in this world who would like nothing better than to see a repeat of 2001. President Bush said “these acts shattered steel, but they cannot dent the steel of American resolve.” I fear the American resolve has been dented a bit. Hopefully taking time today to remember the events of September 11, 2001 will help firm up that resolve.
There has been much written about the attacks of 9/11 in the past seven years, but one of the statements I most remember came from humorist Dave Barry and I believe it holds true today:
“The people who did this to us are monsters; the people who cheered them have hate-sickened minds. One reason they can cheer is that they know we would never do to them what their heroes did to us, even though we could, a thousand times worse. They know that when we hunt down the monsters, we will try hard not to harm the innocent. Those are the handcuffs we willingly wear, because for all our flaws, we are a decent people.” — Dave Barry.
Update: Ace’s account of his experience on September 11 is one that most can probably relate to, and his thoughts about what has happened in the years following 9/11 is very familiar — having thought much of the same myself.
Update: I am watching the President speak at the very moving dedication of the Pentagon memorial. He is visibly emotional, as he was earlier when listening to others sing and speak. This President’s entire term in office was shaped by the events on that day and it is obvious he did not take the responsibilities that came in the aftermath of those events lightly. It has been 2, 557 days without another attack on U.S. soil. It has been seven years since the attack. Here at home and in Afghanistan and in Iraq we still live with that one day.