A day for memories and fierce resolve

We are engaged in a battle that could last many decades

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

The horrifying images of what began as a beautiful September morning and changed abruptly into hellish chaos remain vivid. The heartbreak of that awful day stems not only from the innocent lives destroyed, but also from the shattered dreams of the survivors. These obscene acts of terrorism inspire in our hearts a fierce resolve to take the actions necessary to prevent a similar tragedy from claiming more lives.

The American people opened their hearts to the families touched by the evil work of the terrorists. They also committed this nation to policies designed to minimize the likelihood of future attacks on our homeland.

Seventeen years later, we are engaged in a worldwide struggle to destroy terrorists groups with similar goals to the one directly responsible for the atrocities of 9/11. Real progress has been made in that effort. Sadly, even though headway has been substantial, this war will long — perhaps decades long.

Today is a time for remembering the victims of 9/11. 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 peaceful accommodation 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, which are very much in sync with the stated goals of its successor and affiliated groups, should put to rest any notion that talking with these foes will lead to peace. A key part of that charter reads as follows:

“We will not meet (the enemy) halfway. There will be no room for dialogue with them.”

This enemy wants our souls or our demise.

On this anniversary of the 9/11 attacks — designated Patriot Day in memory of those killed that awful September morning — Americans should reaffirm their determination 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 by their fellow countrymen.

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