Tuesday, September 11, 2001, dawned temperate and nearly cloudless in the eastern United States. Millions of men and women readied themselves for work. Some made their way to the Twin Towers, the signature structures of the World Trade Center complex in New York City. Others went to Arlington,Virginia, to the Pentagon. Across the Potomac River, the United States Congress was back in session. At the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue, people began to line up for a White House tour. In Sarasota, Florida, President George W. Bush went for an early morning run. That's page 1, paragraph 1 of the report. I am now defined by what happened shortly after I arrived at work on September 11, 2001. It defines my politics, my beliefs, my ideology and my heart and soul. It has changed me and forged me into something that is stronger and more determined than I was on September 10. It made me reevaluate my ideals and reorganize my life. It changed the structure of my world. It woke me up and made me more aware of the world around me. It changed me drastically and completely. Forever. There is no other way to explain it. There are no other words I can find to justify my obsession with that day and to all the people who question why I continue to write about, talk about and dream about it as if it happened just yesterday all I can say is, because it feels like it did. And I don't think anyone who chose to spend the time after 9/11 by sticking their head in the sand can comprehend that. How, after everything that happened that day, can you still believe that I am a hawk for calling it an act of war? How can you still believe that there is nothing to fear but fear itself? bq. The lesson of 9/11 for civilians and first responders can be stated simply: in the new age of terror, they—we—are the primary targets. The losses America suffered that day demonstrated both the gravity of the terrorist threat and the commensurate need to prepare ourselves to meet it. The first responders of today live in a world transformed by the attacks on 9/11. Because no one believes that every conceivable form of attack can be prevented, civilians and first responders will again find themselves on the front lines. We must plan for that eventuality. A rededication to preparedness is perhaps the best way to honor the memories of those we lost that day. ch. 9 of report, by way of Jeff Jarvis] As someone said this week (and I wish I could remember which blogger it was), we are safer. But not safe. I don't think we will ever be safe as long as their exists a group of people who wish us dead for being American or Jewish or Christian or anything that isn't Muslim. You can't wipe out an ideology, but you can wage a war on anyone who funds that ideology or harbors those who enact the tenets of that ideology that include the murder of innocent people. We are doing just that. But it's awfully hard to predict what people hell bent on annihilation will do. No one thought they would use planes as weapons. I received an email last night that said "Stop being terrorized. Stop cowering like a puppy dog." Couple that with some comments yesterday on my security moms post that imply I'm a overprotective paranoid freak, crippled by 9/11, who is turning her kids into fearful wimps. Well, no. We live our lives. We go to school and work. We take vacations. We shop and play and sometimes we even shop and play in New York City. We aren't hiding under our couches and I haven't built an underground shelter. While I remain fearful that another 9/11 could happen, I don't let it paralyze me. There's something to be said for being completely honest with yourself. Yes, I'm scared, some days more than others. Every threat, every bit of chatter, every signal that AQ is ready to go sends my senses into overdrive. But I still go about my day. I mean, what else can you do? Hiding under the bed isn't going to help if a supply of sarin is dropped in your town. But it's always there. 9/11 is always there because I choose to keep it there. The knowledge that there are people out there who want to murder you and I is always on my sleeve. And the knowledge that people I know were murdered by those very people makes it hard to keep my anger at bay when I am confronted by reminders.
At three seconds after 10 a.m., Mr. Jarrah is heard on the cockpit voice recorder saying: "Is that it? Shall we finish it off?" But another hijacker responds: "No. Not yet. When they all come, we finish it off." The voice recorder captured sounds of continued fighting, and Mr. Jarrah pitched the plane up and then down. A passenger is heard to say, "In the cockpit. If we don't we'll die!" Then a passenger yelled "Roll it!" Some aviation experts have speculated that this was a reference to a food cart, being used as a battering ram.What would you do if this happened to you today? Would you be paralyzed by shock and horror that there were people on your plane that wanted you and every other passenger and crew member dead? Would you stare in disbelief at the scene? Or would you, in your mind, have prepared for this possibility by a few years of remembering what happened on Flight 93? Would your instinct be to cower, cry or confront? Perhaps on September 10, 2001 I might have been one of those cowering. Not now. I am fully prepared for a situation like this because it is no longer a piece of fiction ripped from an action movie. It is real. It has happened. I don't know about you, but I never want to live through a day like 9/11 again. I never want to visit again the horror and anguish of the days and weeks that followed. I never again want to attend five funerals in one week. I never again want to see my friends and neighbors and even complete strangers crying, grieving and scarred in so large a number, over so many days. What have we learned from the 9/11 commission? Is there anything in that report that will help us prevent another terrible day? Was the report meant to look forward or look back? Because looking back is not going to solve anything. Partisan bickering over who was to blame is not going to prevent another attack. Recognizing that we cannot worry about political correctness or hurt feelings of certain communities should be a priority. It is obvious who wants us dead. bq. In this sense, 9/11 has taught us that terrorism against American interests “over there” should be regarded just as we regard terrorism against America “over here.” In this same sense, the American homeland is the planet. But the enemy is not just “terrorism,” some generic evil. This vagueness blurs the strategy. The catastrophic threat at this moment in history is more specific. It is the threat posed by Islamist terrorism —especially the al Qaeda network, its affiliates, and its ideology. [chapter 12, via Wizbang] We are safer. We are not safe. And only a comprehensive strategy that recognizes who our enemy is will make us safer. Only the realization by everyone that we are at war against a specific ideology and we need to be a bit more vigilant and a lot less liberal in our ideas in dealing with our enemy will make us safer. This is why I never forget 9/11. This is why the images are burned in my mind and my anger is worn on my sleeve. We must never forget who our enemy is and what they did to us. We must never lose sight of the fact that they declared war on us. I am not paranoid. I am realistic.. And I will never, ever get over it or stop carrying it around with me because to do so would be to become complacent. Which would be a great disservice to the memory of those who died for nothing more than a blatant hatred of freedom. Never forget.