As we face the 10th anniversary of one of the worse tragedies this Great Nation has ever experienced, I have been reflecting back on the last decade and it brings me to ask the question.."Did terrorism win?" I remember that day so well, I woke up that morning and heard a radio report that a plane had hit The World Trade Center. I immediately got out of bed and turned on the tv to CNN and as I turned on the news, it was at the exact same time the South Tower got hit. The first thought that crossed my mind was "Oh man, hijackers". As the news began to unfold, the reports came rapidly, next The Pentagon, then Flight 93 and I couldn't help but to be overwhelmed with emotion by what I was seeing. Was this really happening? and who has the nerve to attack America this way?...I was angry, sad, and I will admit, a little scared. The rest of that day was somber, to say the least. I was working with my brother in law J.J. and as people stopped by the office, the conversations were all about the mornings events. J.J. made a statement that has stuck with me ever since, he said "Bill, your generation just got your Kennedy moment". He told me, "for the rest of your life, you will remember everything about this day" and America wont be the same because of it" it was a profound and prophetic statement. The ensuing days and weeks that followed brought this nation together unlike anything I had ever witnessed. Everyone you met was full of patriotism and a sense of "American Pride". The sight of all of our leaders gathering on the steps of the Capitol, putting aside politics, and personal indifference to join as Americans, first and foremost, to sing "America the Beautiful" and "God Bless America" to show unity, strength and resolve and to send a strong message..."We are The United States of America, and we will persevere!"
As the fighter jets patrolled the skies it made me wonder "whats next?"... We all know what came next, war was declared and drastic changes were soon to follow. New laws were put into affect, new agencies were formed and Americans, as a whole, became more vigilante. As the day turned into weeks and weeks into months and months into years, the patriotism slowly faded and people went back to the "status quo". Soon the wars that seemed so necessary, became the topic of argument, the new laws turned into an invasion of privacy and the country became divided on the whole issue. The old "politics as usual" once again reared its ugly head, the arguments over debt, economy, and he said/she said has became the norm for political fodder.
The "leaders" that once showed such great unity, now refuse to work with each other, so adamant in their stubbornness, that they are willing to bring the country to a grinding halt and blame "the other side". We face more debt than this nation has ever seen, and the blame is plentiful for both sides to share. The wars have been grossly mismanaged, we attacked a country that had nothing to do with 9/11 for no other clear reason other than a President was trying to "settle a score", our new President inherited these wars and massive debt and has done a poor job and made poor decisions in an effort to get us out of both. The false sense of stability that this country had, was exposed in the most brutal of ways, our housing market crashed, banks failed, our auto industry was on the verge of collapse, the unemployment rate hovers between 9% and 10%, it is an unsettling time in America. The goal of the terrorist was to "bring America to its knees" and defeat all of the "infidels". At first glance, one may think that the terrorist have achieved their goals, but as I watched this morning all of the memorial services that were being held for those that died, some victims, some heroes, it made realize something. To the outsider, we are a nation of spoiled, arrogant, people that think we are entitled to more than any other country. But if they would look a little deeper, they would realize that we the people of the United State of America, are a caring breed of people, yes we do over indulge at times and we may have a sense of entitlement, but that comes with Independence and Freedom and Democracy. We are the world police, like it or not, because like they say, with great power comes great responsibilty. This country has its faults I won't deny that, but seeing people come together to honor and remember the tragic events of that day, proves something to me. As I watched today Presidents Bush and Obama stand side by side, for a higher purpose and greater cause than either of them, I have to paraphrase Charlie Daniels..."We may have done a little fighting amongst ourselves...but you outside people best leave us along". So did terrorism win?..It's a fight, and they dealt us a blow to the midsection and yes indeed we stumbled and needed a standing 8 count, but we didn't fall, we never hit the mat. If they think they have won, maybe they should go ask their great leader Osama Bin Laden, all they have to do is dive to the bottom of the Ocean and retrieve his dead carcass, or whats left of it (I'm sure the bottom feeders have devoured most of it by now.) Did terrorism win?...No, it has not and never will...I can only hope that the outpouring of emotion and patriotism that abounds today, will last for awhile, maybe inspiring the politicians to work together and help set this country back on the right track, because when its all said and done, we are The United States of America, we will never surrender, we will never forget... we will win...Til next time..Peace...Love and Happiness...and most of all God Bless America.