14 Sep
2011
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Reflections on 9/11

September 11, 2001 is a day that will live on in infamy for the rest of our lives. I was a student at the George Washington University during that time and recall taking a micro-economics class that morning. Upon returning to my apartment, my roommate immediately informed me of what had happened. We watched the news in amazement, still unsure of what had truly occurred. I tried to get through to my family in New York, but was unsuccessful as the phone lines were jammed. After hearing the Pentagon was hit, we felt under attack and stayed inside for the remainder of the day.

Yesterday marked the 10th Anniversary of 9/11 and while we have made great strides as a Nation, we still have a long fight ahead of us on the war against terror. Security levels in New York City continue to remain high as new information suggests another attack might be forthcoming. Additionally, F16 fighter Jets accompanied an American Airlines flight until it landed at JFK airport due to suspicious activity onboard. Tragically, this is how our Country must operate in a post 9/11 world. Sadly enough, friends and family cannot memorialize their loved ones with true peace of mind as fears of an impending threat linger over their shoulders.

While we mourned, remembered and honored those fallen victims of 9/11, other Nations were not as kind. In Pakistan, supporters of an Islamist political party protested, burned American flags and held banners alleging American or Israeli involvement in the 9/11 attack. In Afghanistan, 77 U.S, troops were injured in an attack by a Taliban suicide bomber at an Afghan coalition base. In other parts of the world, Al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations continue to plot harm against the United States as is evident in documents obtained from the Bin Laden compound and trails of other information picked up on jihadist websites.

We must learn from history and never let it repeat itself. America has faced wars in the past and will continue to do so in the future. Our focus must remain on military defense. We must keep on the offensive and never again let down our guard. The bombing of the USS Cole on October 10, 2000 marked the first unofficial act of war on our Nation preceding a second, unprovoked attack on September 11, 2001, with both events affecting countless innocent men, women, husbands, wives and children who were simply guilty of going to work. The photographs of the falling man and firefighters raising the flag at Ground Zero are powerful and will go down in history alongside the famous portrait of U.S. soldiers raising the flag at Iwo Jima. (http://www.september11news.com/news/most-powerful-911-photos-part-3/)

Our Country faces tremendous decisions in the months ahead as unemployment swells, debt increases and the deficit widens. The choices we make must not and cannot come at the sacrifice of our military and security.

For the past 10 years, America has done a remarkable job working to ensure that America remains safe. Former President George W. Bush deserves credit for making difficult decisions to build a foundation that supports security and our defense. President Obama has built upon that foundation and successfully hunted down Osama Bin Laden, while increasing the use of our military drones against the Taliban.

While our intelligence has improved, we still face threats as evident by the Christmas Day bomber. (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/26/us/26plane.html) The moment that we let down our guard will result in a mistake of epic proportions. To this day, threats continue to be very real because people continue to hate America out of envy and the freedoms that we stand for.

The images from Ground Zero on September 11, 2011 were powerful as Paul Simon’s melody of “the Sound of Silence” overtured the ceremony and the Waterfall Memorial poured spectacularly into the two reflecting pools. Yet it is evident that politics have played a detrimental role in the re-building effort and it has taken 10 years too long to build a proper memorial. Still, we are moving in the right direction and rebuilding as we have always done – as a Nation.

The ten-year anniversary ceremony also coincided with opening day of the National Football League. In Chicago, Jim Cornelison’s rendition of the National Anthem at Soldier Field personified the resolve, courage and strength that Americans have shown and will continue to show moving forward. Chants of USA echoed throughout the Stadium and via social media, other parts of the world. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aKW70IOPgM8)

Today, the Freedom Tower is considered to be the safest building in the world with a concrete structure seven times stronger than the average skyscraper. In the end we realize and will always remember that while we lost 2,976 people on 9/11, the fatalities could have been much worse if not for the valiant efforts of Firemen, Policemen and other heroes.

Even though we have our shortcomings, America is still the greatest country in the world. We stand for democracy, freedom of Speech, religious tolerance and the American dream. Let us not forget the atrocities of 9/11, remember that they can happen again, and ensure that they do not.

DISCLAIMER: This post and the contents thereof are the views of only the author identified immediately above and do not necessarily represent the views of the New York Young Republican Club (the "NYYRC"), its officers or its members. The NYYRC expressly disclaims responsibility for the contents thereof and by its charter documents may not, and does not, endorse any candidate for any office, except in a general election.

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