Eight Years Later, the Nation’s Collective Outrage at the Islamic Terrorist Attacks against our Fellow Citizens Continues to Fade
I remember where I was and what I was doing on September 11, 2001. At the time, I and my wife owned a riding academy and stable, and I was in my office going over rider evaluations and planning horse assignments for the coming day. It was early in the morning in Scottsdale, Arizona. Then one of my clients called. She told me to turn on the radio: an unidentified plane had just struck the north tower of the World Trade Center in New York City and the first confused reports indicated that casualties were expected to be high. As follow-up reports and news updates continued to be broadcast during the morning, a clearer picture of this calamity gradually began to emerge. At 9:03am EST, a local film crew recorded the final trajectory of a second passenger jet as it struck the south tower of the World Trade Center. Soon reports were broadcast that a third commercial airliner had smashed into the Pentagon; and finally, that a fourth hijacked passenger jet, United Airlines Flight 93, had disappeared from radar: shortly thereafter, it was confirmed that it had crashed in an empty field in Pennsylvania. The F.A.A acted quickly by ordering all airborne flight crews to secure their cockpits, and then for all commercial flights over the continental U.S. to land immediately. All other scheduled flights, of any kind, were indefinitely grounded. America’s skies were no longer safe. Then, unbelievably, both of the Towers of the World Trade Center came down, one right after the other; when they did, thousands of innocent civilians, and hundreds emergency responders who had selflessly charged into the two burning buildings to render aid to those inside who were trapped and injured, all died in an instant. It didn’t seem possible.
It was at this point, I think, that I and my fellow countrymen at last really grasped the fact that we had been attacked. However, of all of the many individual tragedies that transpired that day — for me — one still stands out. It is the heart-breaking image of a man and woman, faced with two equally horrible choices, bravely holding hands and jumping together to their deaths from the north tower of the World Trade Center. If I live to be a hundred, I will never forget that terrible but inspiring picture, nor will I ever forgive those who caused it. Thus, it is easy for me to remember my reaction at the time: this was nothing less than an act of war; moreover, absolutely everyone associated with this savage act of terrorism should be made to pay, and to pay in such a dramatic and terrible way that they would never again dare to attempt any attacks against the American homeland. In the immediate aftermath of the atrocities of 9/11, I think the vast majority of Americans probably agreed with me. But that was then, and this is now. Somehow, over the last eight years, the national consensus that emerged in the immediate aftermath of the September 11 attacks has, bit by bit, been worn away. Part of the fault for this national amnesia must rest with a lack of constancy on the part of many Americans who, too easily calmed by a cowardly, revisionist media and by the constant pleas for restraint from the countless pro-Islam apologists in our various national elites, seem all too willing to put aside both their recollections of the harrowing images of 9/11 and their hatred for the implacable enemies who callously murdered almost three thousand of our countrymen. I do not understand this willingness to forgive and forget; I never will. None-the-less, it is happening, and only a few of our nation’s prominent figures seem to mind or even notice. This is a national tragedy, and worse, it is a national disgrace.
In a country where once “Remember the Alamo” and “Never Forget Pearl Harbor!” were rallying cries that energized a people and spurred them to resolute action, we now have a president who — instead of commemorating the suffering and sacrifice of all those who died as a result of the worst terrorist attack in American history — wants to make September 11th a recurring “National Day of Service” to celebrate community activism throughout the country. It may come as a surprise to those who dwell in Washington, D.C., but I have news for our president and for a sizeable chunk of the congress: for those men and women who wear the country’s uniform and who are actually taking the fight to the murderous Islamic fascists who threaten America and her citizens all over the world, everyday is already a “Day of Service.”
On today of all days, it is particularly important for each of us, as Americans, to remember that we really are in an all or nothing “shooting” war and have been for decades. And until the modern-day fanatical proponents of a brutal, seventh-century religious-political death culture are defeated or killed, our fellow citizens and our very way of life will never be safe. I sympathize with those people who would just like to move on. But there is a time to forget and forgive, and that time is not now; it may not even come for another generation. None-the-less, if we as a people can regain our righteous anger and renew our determination to prevail against the murderous barbarians who would destroy us, then Islamic fascism, like many of the other totalitarian ideologies of the previous century will also fail. The challenge of this century rests with us and no one else; let us hope than we still have both the national will and the courage to meet it.