“365 Days”

4 September 2002: It has been nearly one year to the day that our nation was attacked in the most vicious manner ever experienced in American history; an attack that resulted in the deaths of some 3000 innocent men, women and children. Everyone of age will forever remember that day in September when it appeared that everything stood still, everything stopped, and all eyes were on a nation whose people were savagely attacked without provocation. The mind numbing horror resulting from the events of that day quickly turned to grief and rose to anger against an enemy with a blurry face. On that fateful day and the days that followed, Americans did what Americans do. We rallied around our leaders, we responded to the challenge of saving those buried deep in the rubble of buildings and help the wounded. We bought flags and flew them with pride in a country united, and exhibited generosity in an unprecedented manner. Our leaders promised to bring those responsible to justice, and make the countries that harbor terrorists or enemies of the United States accountable. With every news clip depicting the horror that occurred at the twin towers, the pentagon and in a rural Pennsylvania field, we were righteously angry, damn angry.

Following the attacks, the United States and a select few of its allies initiated a war campaign against the perpetrators of the attacks, properly identified as radical Islamic extremists who declared a jihad against every “infidel” in America, without regard to their age, gender or race. Our initial response was strong and dispatched with efficiency, satisfying most of America that our actions were effectively exterminating the elusive vermin who dwell in caves like cockroaches that hide in the crevices of a dilapidated house. The enemy who survived the initial campaign scattered and scurried to safer haven like the cockroaches they emulate with the American military in pursuit.

As we approach the anniversary of 9/11, however, the beats of the American war drum appear to be little more than background noise in a nation that was violated like no other time in its history. The horrific images of 9/11 have seemed to fade from the minds of many Americans, not unlike a nightmare that becomes less threatening as the dawn of a new day progresses. The loved ones we lost are buried, the memorials are erected, the tears slow as the grieving process gradually succumbs to the need to resume some sort of normalcy for the sake of our collective mental health.

However, we have seemingly lost something important in that process. Our anger at our enemy, once blatant, has appeared to subside, perhaps not to the degree of acceptance, but to a state of uneasiness. We have become a nation of reactionaries, cautioned not to strike first at our waiting opponents to avoid being labeled as intolerant to diverse cultures and religions. The sound of the drum beats are now occasionally muffled by the cries by the most vocal few who admonish us to understand why our great nation was attacked. The cries of the innocents who lost loved ones have become drowned by the shouts for religious tolerance, cultural understanding, and the admonishment not to profile individuals who fit the description of our enemy to avoid being offensive to a particular group of people. Although disturbing but not surprisingly, many of the most vocal critics reside in the very nation that was attacked. America continues to be free, and its glorious freedom permits even the most repulsive messages to be spoken by those very individuals who have reaped the rewards of our western culture, our free society. America continues to be tolerant, most assuredly with a tolerance that will be yet again exploited by our enemies within and outside of our open borders. The tolerance preached by the loudest is a harbinger for our enemy.

A year has passed in which many children have been robbed of that irreplaceable goodnight hug and kiss by a father or mother who was murdered in cold blood by our vicious enemy. The countless tears and the broken hearts of the children longing for that special hug and kiss that will never again be will soon fade, but the effect will be everlasting. The young wife robbed of companionship, the husband robbed of a loving touch, and the many dreams shattered begin to fade for all but those most intimately effected. Yes, America as a nation moves onward with each passing day. And with each passing day, our collective anger seems to have dissipated but among a few. And one can rest assured that those who call for understanding will not be the ones to wipe the tears from the child’s cheek or embrace the grieving widow, for they are busy tearing at the fabric of America.

As a tribute to America on the anniversary of 9/11, let us not merely somberly erect hollow memorials for those who were murdered, but let us not forget either. Let us not envelope ourselves in introspection, but let us be reminded of the act of butchery that was enacted by a still functional sect who have repeatedly and continuously promised our demise well before and after our declared war on terror. Let not the images of the massive destruction and senseless loss of life be buried like yesterday’s news or edited so as not to offend. Rather, let us never forget what happened, and let us act now rather than react later. Because, if we don’t act, we will be forced to react yet again, and the tears of more innocent children will fall, unable to be wiped away by a parent who will not be coming home again. Let us act like the responsible and independent Americans we are, like the Americans who virtually single-handedly crushed the Japanese Empire, who forced the demise of the Soviet Union, and who paid little attention to the discourse of the contemporaneous minority who rejected anything but tolerance. It is time that our current leaders rise to the level of leadership that made this country great, make the necessary and difficult decisions to exterminate our enemy and summarily dismiss the calls for anything less without apology.

May Americans never forget the atrocities of that fateful September day, may America’s rage not cease, may the visions of the death and destruction wrought by our sworn enemies not fade into obscurity until every last enemy of those who threaten our families, our homes, our children, and our way of life are destroyed. May God Bless America.

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