It was eight years ago today, as many days into George W. Bush’s Presidency then as we are now in Barack Obama’s, that we were viciously attached by an enemy that seeks only to terrorize and devastate us. They have less honor than the Japanese ever did, no apparent desire to take control of our land, and no official standing with the U.N. or any western nation that could provide even a modicum of legitimacy to their actions.
And they attacked a civilian target.
It is not enough to move on from this. Moving on has become a weary forgetfulness that leaves us emotionally and physically unprepared for the reality of a difficult world and the evil intents of those who hate us. Moving on from Hitler’s Germany has left us so dreadfully unscarred that when we see the rise of leaders like Saddam Hussein, we still think we can negotiate our way from the risk of land-grabbing military campaigns, or can turn a blind eye to genocide in places like Bosnia, Rwanda and Darfur. We may not be the world’s police, but we can and should be part of the the conscience and leadership that makes this world free. And perhaps there will be times when we must stand alone for what is right.
It is not enough to move on and yet forget the fortitude it took to work together to emerge from the rubble intact. That fortitude, the wise watching that followed, and the integrity to face head-on the military and political attacks on our nation and all people who long to be free across the world, are what we will need to continue as a strong nation.
Let’s remember those who fell as innocent victims and as rescuers. Remember the price they paid, that we paid in losing them, and the vision of freedom that stirs in every human heart.