A day for memories and fierce resolve

Attacks at World Trade Center, Pentagon, Shanksville must not be forgotten

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.

More than 20 years later, we remain engaged in a worldwide struggle to destroy the al-Qaida group directly responsible for the atrocities of 9/11. Real progress has been made in that effort. Key leaders have been killed or captured. Osama bin Laden, al-Qaida’s operational and symbolic leader, was found and eliminated. Ending the blood-soaked saga of that sinister mastermind was an important accomplishment.

The battle has also been joined with other radical forces — such as the Islamic State — that share al-Qaida’s antipathy for our way of life. Sadly, even though headway has been substantial, this war will be long — perhaps decades long.

Today will be 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 should put to rest any notion that talking with this foe 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.


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