For those of us living in Massachusetts, the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks has a special significance because they began here early on the morning of a beautiful day.
All of us awakening that day in September ten years ago believed it was just another day.
The terrorists began at Logan Airport. The hijackings occurred when they got into the air. The rest of the day is history. In fact, the events of 9/11 personify nearly everything about our history that has followed.
Almost since the day the Twin Towers collapsed – a searing sight burnt into our minds as though it was yesterday – we have been at war, in one way or another, against terrorism, against the darkness of totalitarianism, against ourselves really in the quest to make our nation safe from such an attack again.
Perhaps the greatest achievement of the decade since 9/11 is that we have not again suffered an attack such as what we experienced as a nation that day ten years ago. The destruction of the Twin Towers, the crash of the hijacked plane in a field in Pennsylvania, the hijacked plane flying into the Pentagon and more than 2819 dead set us on an irrevocable path.
In many, many ways we have succeeded. The sacrifice of those who died has not been in vain.
We are a stronger nation today than the day before 9/11. We continue in Iraq and in Afghanistan as part of what we perceive is duty and loyalty to task despite the cost in American blood and treasure. The wars have grown unpopular. The economy is in a tailspin – but we carry on as every great nation must carry on.
We were awakened on 9/11 and in the days that followed. We experienced a powerful burst of patriotism that lit-up the nation. It was hard not to be a part of it. Twenty six days after 9/11 we went to Afghanistan and routed the Taliban. We have remained on duty ever since. There remains no let-up in efforts to destroy those whose sacred duty is to destroy us.
Victory is elusive in the fight against international terrorism. We are waging wars against an enemy that is largely unseen. The enemy uses civilians as targets. The enemy uses terrorism and suicide bombers. They bomb weddings, funerals, kids soccer games, hospitals, diplomatic offices. Their Jihad has become our battle.
As a nation today we aren’t exactly sure of what we need to do to keep ourselves safe from terrorism.
We were sure of ourselves ten years ago. Today there are so many questions about what we ought to be doing.
We know this, the events of 9/11 was our modern day Pearl Harbor.
We learned the difference between the terrorists and ourselves. We are not without shame or guilt as they are. We’ve made our share of mistakes and we’ve paid for those mistakes.
Our biggest error was not being ready on that day ten years ago.
Never again is our mantra.
Never again is what our efforts are all about.