In Memoriam

American 11
United 175
American 77
United 93

I just got done watching United 93. I honestly couldn’t bring myself to watch it until about three months ago, and didn’t get a chance until this evening. I haven’t begun to really process it, but my initial response is one of both horror and awe. What follows are some (perhaps disjointed) thoughts that have recently resurfaced.

Some live today who lost loved ones that fateful day–in planes, in the towers, in the Pentagon, in Shanksville. Most of us were shielded from the experience, living it on television, the radio, the internet, and other news sources. Our experience of that coordinated attack was manipulated and controlled largely by media.

And that oft-heard refrain, “9/11–never forget,” has been largely cast aside. It’s been 5 years and 5 months. “Nine-eleven. Yeah, that was bad, but…”

Again–or rather, Still–our experience is molded by the media, controlled by the news cycle, dictated to us by each daily installment of what is determined to be important at the moment.

That news cycle continually bombards us with death tolls and casualty numbers. These numbers hit us daily, perhaps several times in a day. The enormous death toll of 9/11 is obscured in our memories because it happened once and was done. But three die today, twelve yesterday, several more the day before, and so on, and so on. And slowly but surely the news cycle erodes the national resolve. Those who would never forget forgot.

The conflict in the Middle East is the West’s to lose. It won’t be lost militarily. It will be lost politically. But it won’t be lost in Baghdad, Fallujah, or Jalalabad. It will be lost in Birmingham and Ft. Worth and Jefferson City. It will be lost by Americans choosing to ignore the fact that evil forces exist that actively seek the destruction of this nation and her citizens. Yet make no mistake, they are out there. And they will employ creative and destructive means to achieve their goals. If we give up the will to defeat them, they will most certainly achieve them.

I am certainly not a war monger. I desire true peace. And this is not an entreaty to view the US as the bright and noble center of all that is good. It’s a personal appeal to take a longer view of the situation than that afforded by the all-important news cycle.

It’s a personal appeal to honor those US citizens and others who have died at the hands of terrorists, not by somehow avenging their deaths, but by protecting those who come after them.

It’s a personal appeal to re-galvanize our national resistance to cowardly attacks, not merely on a nation’s sovereignty, but on its citizens.

Again, I don’t like war. I don’t ask anyone else to like it. But as distasteful as it is, I am willing to fight it and ask others to do so as well. That something is difficult is not alone a reason not to do it.

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