The tenth anniversary of 9/11 should really not hold any more meaning for people than the first or second or third. Nor should it be any different than 9/12/01 or 4/18/05, or any other day. Yet humans are a species dependent on ritual, so each 9/11, our thoughts stretch back over time to that horrible day. We pray for the living and the dead. We empathize with those who perished. We honor those who sacrificed themselves to save others. We do this in order to try and make sense out of the senseless.
One thing, however, is very different concerning 9/11/11 than 9/11/01.
We, as a nation, have forgotten what happened.
We have forgotten that this was a terrorist attack on America.
We have forgotten that we are at war.
We have forgotten that a cancer exists whose sole and only stated goal is our destruction.
That cancer has a name. It is Radical Islam.
Today, as we remember and memorialize this atrocity (and it was an atrocity, not a tragedy), it is essential that we recall with specificity the unrepentant hatred visited upon us, and exactly why we have forgotten it.
Because only then can we remember we are at war and act accordingly.
First, Bear Witness
The legendary Jewish scholar and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel reminds us it is essential that the Holocaust be forever remembered and recalled. Mr. Wiesel would take issue with my comparison of 9/11 to the Holocaust, and he’d be correct to do so. However, he says something that is equally relevant to both atrocities:
Why do I remember? Because we owe it not only to the living, but also to the dead. If we forget, the dead will be killed a second time and they are today’s victims…the enemy committed such crimes that they pushed them beyond words.
The horror of September 11 so transcended what Americans had experienced, and the attack so spectacular, that the media literally had no choice but to replay the images over and over again. It was as if the constant repetition might somehow make it more real, because otherwise it was so unfathomable as to seem unreal.
It was, in fact, a crime beyond words. So what Americans did was to, quite naturally, turn away. After reaching a saturation point of horror and sadness and death and barbarism, we experienced a kind of collective Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. The event itself is relegated not to memory, but to the deep unconscious. Not subconscious, where it might continue to manifest in unexpected ways, but the unconscious, where we attempt to eradicate it. Thus, it is referred to only in the abstract — as “9/11” — which carries with it a connotation, but only rarely a feeling, meaning, or understanding.
In the meantime, the Left has lulled us all into a false sense of security. Their incessant political correctness; their refusal to acknowledge that we are at war with an enemy that seeks our total destruction; their apology tours; their consistent insulting of Israel; and their foolish belief that the enemy can be appeased are the messages we truly desire to hear. After all, who wants to be at war with an enemy that has no central command? Who wants to live in fear? These messages play right into our desire to put 9/11 into our unconscious.
It is now time to revisit September 11, and to do so in the same way the Holocaust is best revisited — by documentary images and stories. As with Shoah and the Shoah Project, we must force ourselves to once again bear witness. We must do this not through silly pop culture re-interpretations (World Trade Center) that trivialize the atrocity, but through a pro-active viewing of documentaries such as 9/11; peruse websites dedicated to 9/11 imagery; spend time reviewing the extraordinary collection here is new york.
Does it hurt? Does it tear you up? Does it make you want to turn away?
Of course. It does for me.
But we must bear witness, because we have forgotten.
Now that you have been reawakened to the war, it’s time to act in service of that effort, just as Americans did in World War II, against an enemy just as destructive.
You must mount a campaign in whatever way you can muster to do the following (at least):
Speak the enemy’s name loudly. “Radical Islam.”
Educate yourself about the enemy: Radical Muslims can, and will, lie. Indeed, they are compelled to do so in order to advance their cause — the advancement of the Caliphate across the globe. Those who will not convert must be killed. By deceiving an enemy, they hope to draw out and exploit his vulnerability.
Reject political correctness. Worried about insulting someone? Deal with it. The enemy wants you dead and will lie to accomplish it. They took advantage of our vulnerabilities on 9/11 — by knowing the passengers on those doomed flights would do what they were told (lies), and our inherent trust (unlocked cockpit doors). They take advantage of the fools on the Left, proclaiming to be peaceful when they seek our destruction. The bleeding heart Liberal is their unwitting accomplice. Political correctness is their mutual tactic. Call it out.
Challenge the advancement of Radical Islam and Sharia Law in the United States. Trust but verify. It’s one thing to want to build a mosque, which no right-minded, freedom-embracing American would object to. It’s another to build one whose intent is to instruct its congregations in Sharia Law, and to extend the Caliphate at the expense of others.
Educate yourself and others about Israel. That country is the only democracy in the Middle East (that alone should tell you something about Radical Islam). The Left, however, plays right into the hands of the enemy by engaging in consistent anti-Semitism and demonization of Israel and its people.
Remove the TSA. This smoke-and-mirrors nonsense must stop. It is outrageous that TSA workers are engaging in physical searches that, in any other venue, would constitute sexual harassment, sexual assault, and child molestation. While in the Dallas airport a few months ago, passengers had to enter a massive bubble chamber (easily 500 feet in diameter, if not more), stand with their arms out, while two gigantic arcs swept around them. The darn thing took up a huge space in the center of security. It looked absolutely comical. This is what we’ve come to. Instead, the U.S. should have long ago partnered with Israeli private security firms to handle airport security. The ingenuity of America and Israel together would have resulted in a system that was both efficient and accomplished security goals.
Spend defense funds wisely. The Pentagon is an antiquated joke, from everything I’ve ever heard from those who work there. The Department of Defense is laden with Vietnam-era generals who are out of touch with the requirements to fight this war. We need a strong leader as Commander-in-Chief who can appoint a strong leader to lead the DoD. The department must be rebuilt and done so with a goal to win this war.
There are so many other things you can do as an individual, but it begins with a proclamation — one that should be shouted from the rooftops and at every politically-correct friend you have.
We are at war.
Let’s act like it.