I took my children out of school early and kept them home the next day. I made phone calls to check in with family and friends. I stayed in touch with my National Guard unit command staff. I pondered what the future would bring since terrorists had brought - so unfortunately successfully - this war to the innocents of America.
Nine years later now we still fight this war. We've seen the government, under a new administration, stop referring to it as the Global War On Terrorism. We've heard requests from our country's leadership to stop referring to the terrorists as fanatical or radical Muslims. Just as Americans of Japanese heritage had been targeted and unfairly treated during and after World War II, some Muslims in America have been targeted and unfairly treated since the attacks of September 11th. It is wrong to do so; just as wrong as it is for Americans - of any religious faith - to speak up in support of those heinous men who planned and committed those terrorist attacks.
There are no words sufficient to express the grief, angst and anger I feel with regard to these attacks. Song writers and singers have certainly done a better job of capturing the feelings of our country that day - and in the days to follow. All around the country American flags sprouted almost magically out of houses, onto long bare flag poles, onto car windows and more. Just recently I received an email encouraging me to fly an American Flag this coming Saturday, September 11th "in rememberance." There is an American Flag flying at my house every day of the year. The national pride and surge of patriotism we collectively felt on September 11th, 12th, 13th and so on in 2001 shouldn't have ever wained. It should be as strong today as it was then. We are still at war against terrorism and likely will be long into the foreseeable future.
As I do each year I circulated an email asking coworkers, writers and friends to provide some input on the events of September 11th. Two writers provided whole articles which will be posted separately. Two writers provied input which I include below. I invite you to share your comments as well.
Before I post those writers' comments, please indulge me as I include a few quotes from then President George W. Bush in the speech he made regarding the attacks.
A great people has been moved to defend a great nation. Terrorist attacks can shake the foundations of our biggest buildings, but they cannot touch the foundation of America. These acts shattered steel, but they cannot dent the steel of American resolve.
The search is underway for those who are behind these evil acts. I've directed the full resources of our intelligence and law enforcement communities to find those responsible and to bring them to justice. We will make no distinction between the terrorists who committed these acts and those who harbour them.
And from President George W. Bush's address to a joint session of Congress on September 20, 2001:
We have seen the state of our union in the endurance of rescuers working past exhaustion. We've seen the unfurling of flags, the lighting of candles, the giving of blood, the saying of prayers in English, Hebrew and Arabic. We have seen the decency of a loving and giving people who have made the grief of strangers their own. My fellow citizens, for the last nine days, the entire world has seen for itself the state of union, and it is strong.
Al Qaeda is to terror what the Mafia is to crime. But its goal is not making money, its goal is remaking the world and imposing its radical beliefs on people everywhere.
The terrorists practice a fringe form of Islamic extremism that has been rejected by Muslim scholars and the vast majority of Muslim clerics; a fringe movement that perverts the peaceful teachings of Islam.
I also want to speak tonight directly to Muslims throughout the world. We respect your faith. It's practiced freely by many millions of Americans and by millions more in countries that America counts as friends. Its teachings are good and peaceful, and those who commit evil in the name of Allah blaspheme the name of Allah.
This is not, however, just America's fight. And what is at stake is not just America's freedom. This is the world's fight. This is civilization's fight. This is the fight of all who believe in progress and pluralism, tolerance and freedom.