Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Day of Remembrance, Day of Resolve


September 11, 2001 promised nothing special. The sun was out. The sky was brilliant blue, the temperature pleasant. The world was at peace when I boarded the 6:08 express bus to the Pentagon. I looked forward to a day of email, staff call, and work on the technical project and briefing of the moment.

Half-way through my email, I learned that someone had flown a plane into one of the World Trade Towers. For all I knew it was a light plane, an incident causing minor damage. I shrugged it off and went to staff call.

Midway through staff call, there was a shock like a blow to the entire body. The Colonel identified it as blast over-pressure. We opened the door and found the corridor outside filled with smoke. We stepped over debris as we moved out and away from the smoke and from the building.

Our world was no longer at peace.

In slightly over an hour and a quarter, nearly 3000 people who had gone to work in a world at peace had perished in an act of war. Like the 7th of December 1941, the 11th of September 2001 had become a day that will live forever in infamy. As the result of an act of unspeakable evil, our nation was at war. Twelve years later the nation remains at war.

Freshmen entering college this fall and many of the soldiers fighting today's battles were barely in grammar school on 9/11. Some of them cannot remember a time when the nation was not at war. Colonels and Generals directing today's forces were newly minted Lieutenants, Captains, and Majors when the war began.

Twelve years after 9/11, images of the towers falling, of the Pentagon on fire, of wreckage in a Pennsylvania field are scarcely to be found. Pictures of people casting themselves from the towers to avoid the inferno inside are unavailable. Those who control government and the media have determined such images are "too graphic and disturbing" to be displayed.

Yet those who sought to inflict pain and disrupt our way of life those twelve years ago still exist, are still intent on inflicting pain, intent on disrupting our life, intent on robbing us of our security. Their resolve remains strong to win a conflict of a hundred years or more.

It is good to remember 9/11 with deeds of service as has become the fashion. It would be better to remember them with stories and graphic images of the events themselves.

We, as a nation, need to recall the horror. We need to remember that on 9/11 nearly 3000 of our countrymen died needless horrible deaths. We need to be reminded that their deaths were the result of acts of surpassing evil.

We need to remember and mourn our dead.

Remembering, let us solemnly resolve that this evil shall not triumph.

Let us resolve that we will oppose this evil at home and oppose it abroad, that we will oppose it on land, in the air, and on the sea, that we will oppose it individually, as a nation, and through the Community of Nations.

Let us further resolve that though it take a thousand years, we will endure to triumph over evil or perish in the attempt.

All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing.

How will you be commemorating the events of 9/11?

What service will you perform? What commemorative events will you attend?

By what actions will you demonstrate your resolve?

Will you do nothing?

What will you do to ensure evil will not triumph?