Friday, September 11, 2009

What We Should Remember

With due respect to the President, I think he's trivializing 9/11 by designating it a national day of service. When I heard that that was his intent I tried to imagine what the WWII generation would have thought had December 7th been designated by FDR or Harry Truman a day for people to clean beaches and volunteer for Welcome Wagon. I think they would have treated the suggestion with condign derision.

What we should reflect upon on this day, in my opinion, are three things:

First, we need to keep it firmly in mind that we are in a war to the death with radical Islam. They will not stop trying to kill us, our children and our grandchildren until either we have converted to Islam, or either we or they are all dead. This is a generational conflict. It will not end when we withdraw from Iraq or Afghanistan. It has been going on at varying levels of intensity for 800 years and will not cease just because we'd like it to.

Second, we need to remember, and continue to hold up to our young, the character of the people who acted so bravely and unselfishly on that horrible morning. From the firefighters who climbed the tower stairways to try to help the people trapped therein, to the people on board flight 93 who refused to be passive in the face of evil, to the workers in the buildings who, despite danger to themselves, struggled heroically to help their friends and co-workers escape.

There are many others, men and women in the armed forces and intelligence agencies, who subsequently exhibited great valor in fighting those who were allied with the terrorists who launched the attacks, but on September 11 we should remember the men and women who were directly involved in the attack and praise their heroism. Somehow, picking up trash and raking leaves in the community park seem pretty anemic and inappropriate gestures given the import and magnitude of what this infamous day calls for.

Third, we should reflect seriously on the fact that God blesses the nation that seeks to live justly and morally and may remove His hand from the efforts of those nations which have decided to estrange themselves from Him. We need to affirm our trust in God and keep in mind that our dependence for our survival rests ultimately in Him. Military might alone is insufficient and inadequate to keep us secure. If we forget about God and the path He desires us to follow, He very well may forget about us. In that case we might expect that many more 9/11s lie in our future.

Community service is fine, but it's perhaps more suited to Labor Day. Let's not do to 9/11 what we've done to so many other holidays, the real meaning of which has been obscured by the manner in which we celebrate or observe the days.