Remembering 9/11

It was a beautiful Tuesday morning in Washington DC. I'd arrived a few days earlier so I'd gotten adjusted to the time difference. There seemed to be nothing special about this day. I was sitting with friends having very interesting political conversation over breakfast.

When the phone rang and we got word about one of the World Trade Center towers getting hit by a plane, our conversation naturally shifted to the news we'd just received. But only for a few minutes. "What a terrible accident" was the essence and conclusion of the discussion.

The phone rang a second time. Everything changed. The tone, the level of concern, the conversation that soon turned to prayer.

In the ensuing minutes and hours, our hearts and minds watched the pictures on the television set with absolute disbelief. How could this happen in this country? This is the kind of thing we see in movies. This cannot be real. I was beside myself.

But at the very same time, I found myself replaying stories in my mind. Stories my parents told of what it was like to live in Egypt, as a Christian. The persecution they faced. The death and the torture they witnessed. As a child, I'd heard the "This is what the radical Muslims do to Christians" so much that, I have to admit, I had written it off as a generalization and exaggeration about things that used to take place in a third-world country.

On Tuesday, September 11, 2001 all those stories I'd heard about the "radical Muslims" in Egypt became more real to me than I could have imagined. Those are the people doing this to our country. They hate us. They are the ones who took the lives of my dad's friends. They're the ones who burned and continue to burn churches in Egypt. They're the ones who torture, rape and murder women and children in the Sudan. These are the people who flew those planes into the towers and the Pentagon.

They targeted the icons of American wealth and power in the name of righteousness. They took the lives of 3,000 of our fellow Americans. And, they rejoiced in their accomplishment.

Four years later, I dare say they haven't forgotten. They continue to lavish in their success, threaten further disaster and plot further evil. They have not forgotten.

We, on the other hand, act like we have. Our borders remain porous. Our political leaders are back to infighting and even our fellow citizens appear to have lost the passion and conviction to do whatever it takes to never let another 9/11 happen again.

On this fourth anniversary of that very sad historic day, I urge all of us to say a prayer for the family and friends who lost loved ones that day. Many of us may act like we've forgotten. But, they never will.

God bless you and may God bless and protect our land.


At 9/11/2005 02:40:00 PM, Blogger The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

Thanks for your thoughts Lores. If America slept before 9/11, it certainly pulled me out of my bubble and political malaise. I have never forgotten what we went through, and nothing has made me more aligned to conservatives than 9/11. George Bush's response was, and is, the correct one.

Now if he can only get a handle on the borders issue.

Remember the story of the 3 Pakistanis and the 1 nationalist in Los Angeles whose plot to attack military recruiting stations and Jewish Synagogues was foiled, recently?

Let's not have another 9/11 to wake up all over again on the borders issue. Let's not be caught slumbering, ever again.

I worry about fellow citizens being recruited as well. The prison populace...gangbangers....all rich targets for recruitment by terrorist organizations.

At 9/11/2005 03:23:00 PM, Blogger Mark said...

Lores, that was a outstanding piece, expecially in the way you equated the martyrdon of Christians in all pars of the world to the martyrdom here.

It always helps to be reminded that America is not the only nation in the world to be terrorized.

At 9/11/2005 04:06:00 PM, Blogger Doug said...

Martyrdom? Christians? Newsflash: not only Christians were killed on 9/11/01.

The Muslim Brotherhood, as I'm sure you know, started in Egypt in the 1920s -- they are the godfathers of Al Qaida and other similiar orgs. They do not represent Islam, as I'm sure you would agree.

You might want to parse "they" a bit more, and you might want to ask -- for your own self-protection and out of your own self-interest -- why AQ, et al, did what they did. This is not "therapy" or "excusing" or any such thing. One must study one's enemies -- any military or intelligence person will tell you that. Simply repeating "They hate us" tells you nothing.

For the record, I was in NYC on 9/11/01, and I went from my midtown office downtown to try to help. I was at Ground Zero with an employee of mine who wanted to come along standing among fireman who were in tears, frustrated that they could do nothing. Another employee of mine -- a good friend -- lost her uncle. I get the tragedy, in other words.

"Porous borders" is not the problem. Our foreign policy since 9/11 (e.g., Cold-War rivalries and American funding of mujahadeen against the Soviets, in particular, along with our addiction to oil and support of any repressive regime that can pump it to us, is more to the point) has a lot -- not all -- but a lot to do with it. Our completely one-sided view of the Israel/Palestine conflict (I am Jewish, btw) is another.

No, none of this "excuses" the perps. It behooves a thinking people to look to deeper causes beyond the proximate, personal responsibility, which is undeniable, of the cell that carried out the attack.

I personally don't know a single person who has forgotten 9/11; nor do I think it possible.

As for preventing another such disaster, you will no doubt consider this off-topic, but I don't: we've just had one in the Gulf. Bush himself equated the two (for different purposes) in his speech yesterday, so don't jump on me for this.

Our problem is not "porous borders" but a pointless war in Iraq that has turned that country into a graduate school for future suicide bombers, and, on another level, our obvious and total lack of preparation to deal with a 9/11-size disaster, whatever the cause.

I quote Republican Tom Kean, former governor of New Jersey, and chair of the 9/11 Commission:

"'The same mistakes made on 9/11 were made over again, in some cases worse,' Kean said. 'Those are system-wide failures that can be fixed and should have been fixed right away.'"

Read all about it here.

Is this not cause for rage and alarm? Yes. Why? Because no one has forgotten 9/11. Is that why "liberals" (as though only "liberals" were against the Iraq War, unless Brent Scowcroft, et al, are somehow "liberals") were outraged that the Bush admin went into Iraq, based on obvious lies, and which could only lead to more anti-American rage? Yes. Why? Because no one has forgotten 9/11.

On a side note: "Gangbangers" are rich targets for recruitment? Why? Please explain. Who are "gangbangers"? Please provide a profile for me.

Lores, et al, you better believe I remember 9/11 and those lost. I am even willing to give the Bush admin the benefit of the doubt on not being prepared -- although that is quite difficult with memos warning of this, and people like Clarke screaming about it all through 2001. Fine. They associated it with Clinton; they screwed up. I'm more pissed off about what this admin has done from 9/12/01 on.

Up to and including the needless Iraq war (no, I'm sorry, no credible organization, including the White House, now thinks there were any connections between AQ and Iraq, nor that there were any WMDs -- and, no, that's not hindsight) and the unbelievably and dangerously public failure to respond to Katrina. With plenty of advance warning.

We are far less safe by any rational measure today, four years on, than we were on that terrible day.

I wish you folks could see that, but I find it near to impossible that you will.

Best wishes, nonetheless!

At 9/11/2005 04:09:00 PM, Blogger Doug said...

Oops -- I meant "...our foreign policy before and since 9/11..."

At 9/11/2005 05:29:00 PM, Blogger Doug said...

You might all want to view (Windows Media required; launches automatically) this video from the 9/11 Public Discourse Project, the successor organization to the 9/11 Commission.

Sam Nunn, conservative Democratic ex-Senator on Terrorism and WMD; followed by a discussion.

Everything this org does is as nonpartisan (or, if you like, bipartisan) as the commission that was made up of the same members.

I think watching this is a good way to memorialize those we lost -- by educating ourselves in order to prevent similar or worse disasters in the future.

At 9/12/2005 03:53:00 AM, Blogger pawlr said...

I was in NYC on 9/11 too - I watched both towers fall in front of my eyes.

You're damn right I wanted to find and kill the people who did this.

Apparently our leaders didn't share my view, because Osama is still alive and well and making video tapes threatening us while our forces are tied down somewhere else, because the Idiot ("He tried to kill my daddy") Bush is more interested in settling personal scores than protecting this country. As for Osama, Bush admittedly "doesn't think that much about him, honestly".

Damn right I'm mad. Lets get some competent leadership in this country who will go after the real enemy.

At 9/12/2005 05:24:00 PM, Blogger Kasandra Rivera said...

Thanks for reminding so many Americans. I remember sitting in class watching the news as it was happening. I also remember the way Americans came together, but now we are back to our same ways. Looking out for number one ourselves.

-I found your blog on Google, when I typed in conservtive political blogs

At 9/16/2005 08:09:00 PM, Anonymous MikeDJ said...

I agree with Doug's posts completely.

I would also add that while we remember 9/11 victims, we should also remember Iraqi civilians killed by US bombs.

There are 20 thousand of those.


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