Sept. 12, 2001: Yesterday’s events changed America
This column was originally published on Sept. 12, 2001.
The world will never be the same. You all know what I’m writing about today. It wasn’t supposed to be like this. I had a brilliant article ready for your own reading pleasure, but that article was written about a different world, a different time.
I had just awakened and turned on the television just as the second World Trade Tower collapsed. Even now, the number of innocent Americans who lost their lives can not even be conceived, let alone estimated.
Ladies and gentlemen, Sept. 11, 2001, will represent a boundary between two eras of American life: the way it was, and the way it is now. It’s not just that the New York skyline has been altered forever, or that the Pentagon only has four sides. It’s not even the many thousands of people who were killed or injured on this, the darkest day in the United States since Pearl Harbor. This is about all of us, as Americans, coming together in the face of overwhelming tragedy.
Terrorists thrive on just that: terror, fear and disorder. Whatever organizations are behind this had but one goal in these terrible acts: to show the rest of the world that the United States is vulnerable and can be hurt. They’ve done that. Now is our chance to rise and show them that the United States can recover, heal and triumph over adversity.
The point is this and nothing more, friends. The time is now for us to put all of our petty differences behind us and unite as one force to stand defiantly in the face of terrorism. This is not the first terrorist attack on our country, nor will it likely be the last. However, an act as terrible as this is perfect for all of us to show that Americans do not fear terror, and that terrorism is not the way to bend the United States to your will.
Additionally, it must not just be the United States: the time has come for the entire world, including Israel, Palestine, Iran, Libya and every other rogue state, to dismiss and eliminate terrorism. Recent conflicts in the Middle East have proven that terrorism is not an acceptable method of improving foreign relations.
So what do we do now? This is the question on almost every American’s mind. First, of course, we must mourn the loss to our nation. This will not be an easy loss to bear, but together, we Americans can. We will.
Second, we rebuild. That’s right. We must immediately repair the Pentagon, and rebuild the World Trade Center. In fact, we should make those twin towers taller and more beautiful that before. It’s absolutely necessary that we prove to the world that you can hit us, you can hurt us, but you cannot destroy us. We will recover.
Third, we find those who were responsible for this heinous act and destroy them with all our might. Thus far, our noble President Bush is taking impressive measures, promising that whoever committed this act will be brought to justice. If a rogue nation is found to be responsible, immediate retaliatory action must be taken.
Obviously, this should be a moment of great sadness for all of us. But times like these demonstrate how Americans can come together and unite against the darkness. In the next few days, each of us will witness America in her finest hour.