A day for memories and fierce resolve

Sept. 11, 2001, is a day etched in the memories of Americans.

Recollections of 9/11 remain vivid, though less so as time passes.

The American people opened their hearts to the families touched by the evil work of the terrorists. They also resolved to prevent similar atrocities from creating more American victims.

Fourteen years later, we are still engaged in a worldwide struggle to destroy the remnants of the al-Qaida group directly responsible for the attacks on our homeland. The battle has also been joined with other radical forces that share al-Qaida’s antipathy for our way of life, most significantly just now the so-called Islamic State.

America and its allies are making substantial progress in this struggle, but the struggle ahead will be difficult. Combating these evil threats to our nation is likely to be an important national priority for many more years – perhaps for decades.

Today is a time for remembering the victims of 9/11 and the sacrifices of those patriots who have served in our armed forces during the years since that tragic day. It is also fitting that we reflect on why this is a war we have no choice but to pursue and win.

While some Americans seem to believe a negotiated peace with these enemies is achievable, the words of our adversaries make it clear that no such result is possible.

The contents of the al-Qaida charter – one of many documents captured by our troops – make it clear why that is true. Its chilling words should put to rest any notion that talking with this foe will lead to peace. A key part of that charter reads as follows:

“There will be continuing enmity until everyone believes in Allah. We will not meet (the enemy) halfway. There will be no room for dialogue with them.”

Several years before his death, Osama bin Laden explained in a message to his followers his understanding of al-Qaida’s war goals. Here’s what he told his disciples about the struggle then taking place in Iraq and elsewhere:

“(It is) a war of destiny between infidelity and Islam,” he said. “(It will end in) victory and glory or misery and humiliation.”

This enemy wants our souls or our demise. The beheadings and assorted barbarous acts by Islamic State terrorists are dramatic evidence that at least some of the people we must fight do not accept the value system most of us in this country share.

On this anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, we Americans should reaffirm our resolve to fight this war to the only acceptable conclusion – victory. We should also take the time to honor those heroic men and women who have sacrificed so much on faraway battlefields. They and their families have demonstrated unfailing patriotism and deserve to be honored and supported by their fellow countrymen.