Today's the day. The day we woke up to the fact that we were at war. We'd actually been at war for many years, but we just didn't know it.
Some folks started suspecting that there was something very wrong at 8:46 AM, when American Airlines Flight 11 slammed into the north face of the North Tower of the World Trade Center. When United Airlines Flight 175 crashed into the south face of the South Tower of the World Trade Center at 9:03 AM, a whole lot of people knew immediately that the world had suddenly changed. The United States was under attack.
We barely had time to consume the reality of the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York when, at 9:37 AM, American Airlines Flight 77 penetrated the west side of the Pentagon. Over the course of 51 short minutes, we had learned what it's like to be afraid for our entire country. What was next?
Although we didn't know it at the time, a fundamental change in how Americans respond to threats started at 9:57 AM, when the passenger revolt aboard the hijacked United Airlines Flight 93 got underway with the words, "Let's roll!" Six minutes later, at 10:03 AM, the first victory in the latest battle of our War on Terrorism ended with the crash of Flight 93 in a field outside Shanksville, PA.
A lot of things changed seven years ago today. The echoes of the September 11th attacks were later heard in Madrid, London, Istanbul and Indonesia, among others. People around the world realized, at least for a time, that appeasement and accommodation were useless in dealing with terrorism.
Unfortunately, with the passing of time, a lot of us have turned loose of the lessons that 9/11 taught us. September 11th is just another day. The War on Terrorism is just the deluded fascination of a very unpopular President. We're wasting money that could be spent on government programs that can make us feel better about how sympathetic and caring we are as Americans.
This is no time to waver. Those who forget history are condemned to repeat it. We can't let our successes in preventing more terrorist attacks lull us into forgetting about what we have to do to keep our country, and our countrymen, safe.
We can't let the 3000 people who were killed by terrorists on September 11, 2001, die in vain. We can't forget how important that date was in realizing that we are at war with those who want to destroy us. And they would still destroy us if they could. If we would let them.