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|We Must Never Forget||03/11/2004|
The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, revealed much about America and her people -- both good and bad. Now, not even three years later, the lessons we learned seem to be fading from memory. In fact, some Americans, including politicians with entirely selfish motives, want us to forget those things that became crystal clear on that day and in the weeks following. But we must continually remind ourselves of those words written in the ashes and dust of the World Trade Center: "We Will Never Forget."
We must never forget the thousands of innocent people who were ambushed that day as they went about their peaceful lives, working to care for themselves and their loved ones. From the back of United Flight 93, where Todd Beamer uttered the famous line, "Let's roll!" to the Pentagon, where Lt. Col. Brian Birdwell was severely burned when a hijacked aircraft crashed into the building, our citizens were simply doing the things that good people do; yet they were mercilessly killed or injured for it.
We must never forget the heroism of the police officers and firefighters who bravely performed their duties. People like retired New York firefighter Lee Ielpi, who helped carry out the lifeless body of his son, Jonathan, a firefighter with Squad 288 in Queens. When everyone else fled the death and destruction, these frontline soldiers in the war on terror rushed in to save the lives of others, many of them sacrificing their own lives in the line of duty.
We must never forget that evil is a real and present danger. There are religious and idealistic fanatics who are willing to die in order to murder innocent people. This evil must be dealt with directly and forcefully. It will not go away by ignoring it or containing it.
We must never forget the compassion of the American people in the weeks and months following the attacks. We cried with each other, we took care of each other, and we prayed for each other because in the victims and their families we saw ourselves. We all said, "It could have been me," because evil does not care who it hurts. When the worst of humanity lashed out, the best of humanity responded to comfort one another and try to heal the pain.
We must never forget that the attacks exposed a weakness in U.S. Intelligence. Years of trimming back and departmental isolation left us vulnerable. The communication between the various organizations must remain open and friendly, with everyone working toward the common goal of homeland security.
We must never forget that when politicians put aside partisan positioning and bickering, real efforts can be made to benefit and protect the American people. As we head into another election season, that sense of higher purpose must be at the forefront of our elected officials' agenda.
We must never forget the American armed forces that crushed the Taliban, pursued terrorists across the globe, eradicated Saddam's evil empire and continue to take the battle to the enemy, rather than waiting for the enemy to return to our soil. Our soldiers are fighting so that our children and grandchildren will be safer. We must continue to support them in every way possible.
We must not forget that it is our Commander-In-Chief, our elected President, who bears most of the burden to complete this war on terror. He or she must have the resolve to cut off the head of every poisonous snake that seeks to strike an innocent American, both here and abroad.
In the coming months and years, some will try to erase the memory of those days or rewrite the history through which we all lived. But we must hold fast to the truth, learn the painful lessons of these times and ensure that the memories of those lost will continue to live through those of us left behind.
We must never forget...because if we do, our children may be visited by this evil once again.