I recall vividly the profound sadness, anger and horror I felt the moment the first tower collapsed.
I was glued to the television that fateful American morning when Matt interrupted Tom & Katie to report: “We just saw a live picture of what seemed to be a portion of the building falling away from the World Trade Center.”
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After the initial shock then realization that our nation had been attacked, suffered thousands of innocent civilians murdered at the hands of barbarians, and that America had been thrust into war — My mind hurtled back to an earlier reading of Tom Clancy’s gripping novel Executive Orders Debt of Honor.
In it, the author describes how a deranged commercial jet pilot — bent on revenge against America for WWII — crashes his 747 Jumbo jet into a joint session of Congress, thereby slaughtering nearly the entire American political leadership, save of course Mr. Clancy’s heroic protagonist, Jack Ryan.
Thus the attacks, while utterly shocking, did not impact in a complete surprise to me from out of the blue. My wife and young children on the other hand struggled to comprehend its reality and what it might portend — our community’s well-intentioned-school-emptying-handhold-chain-“peace”-vigils notwithstanding.
The confirmation of my own dread that our nation was destined for major military operations would arrive soon enough.
I had recently returned from working overseas in August 2001. During the trip, I’d had the privilege of spending time with active duty military personnel who had, during R&R, discreetly shared with me that their movements were then restricted because they were on alert due to some intercepted intelligence “chatter” indicating a certain ‘bin Laden terrorist organization was preparing an attack’.
However, they were unaware as to where in the world such an attack was specifically targeted – in hindsight, that was in no small part due to the now infamous Gorelick “wall” (that blinded CIA from FBI) constructed, and subsequently buttressed during previous administrations.
That alone is an absolute outrage. And to this day, it exposes as either insane, or treacherous (or both) any who would ever propose or sign on to the despicable “Truther” lunacies. A special hell is most certainly reserved for those who’d sign on to it as fifth columnists, fellow travelers, or useful idiots for purely ideological expediency in order to subvert their political enemies, the national security of America and Her moral exceptionalism both foreign and domestic.
The 9/11 attacks, were an cowardly act of terrorism that could have been better guarded against, perhaps even thwarted altogether absent Gorelick’s “wall”; since torn down by President George W. Bush and a nearly unanimous Congress that, for a fleeting moment in time, acted in a strong bipartisan manner to secure the nation from future such attacks by enacting such new laws as the Patriot Act.
It is an ongoing outrage and craven miscarriage of justice that 9/11 Commission panel-member, Ms. Gorelick and her bosses responsible for the construction of that nefarious “wall” evaded the witness chair, being thrown out of office, into ill repute or prison. Enough!
Eight years on, our nation remains engaged in the long war, “our War on Terror”, as President Obama’s spokesman reminds us.
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Will we prevail? I have faith that we will despite the feverish hope-mongering of revisionists that instruct us to avoid the practice of comprehensive reexaminations of the events that drove us into our nation’s current hostilities.
It is vital to move ever forward, yet evasive of reality to counsel ignorance of mistakes past and their careful, truthful scrutiny, especially in such desperate matters as war and national security.
We owe that effort, along with our undying gratitude, to the heroic men and women in uniform past, present & future. Those who selflessly volunteer to sacrifice all in the service of securing our Liberty, Freedom and security from tyrannies lurking both within and without our nation’s borders.
We owe it to the memory of all who perished on September 11, 2001, and to their families who survive and carry onward.
The President’s student address this week rightfully advised, “you can’t let your failures define you – you have to let them teach you. You have to let them show you what to do differently next time… You’ve got to practice.” Indeed.
Avoiding reflexive agreement with what he generally preaches, I encourage this as a time “you’ve got to practice” in solemn remembrance of September 11, 2001.
May God continue to bless the United States of America and all who serve to secure Her from tyranny’s evil in our long war against totalitarianism, and future battles over the horizon.
“Yet we are not afraid. Our cause is just, and worthy of sacrifice. Our nation is strong of heart, firm of purpose. Inspired by all the courage that has come before, we will meet our moment and we will prevail.” – President George W. Bush, October 11, 2001
UPDATE: Thanks to reader Aloyicious for the book title correction.