The liberty principle for this Freedom Friday is the fact that remember describes an essential part of maintaining liberty. Why is it important for Americans to remember 9/11? The most important reason for remembering is to make sure that such an event never again takes place in America. Another reason for remembering is to teach the rising generation – the ones who were not born at the time of 9/11 – exactly what happened.
On September 11, 2001 – nineteen years ago, nineteen hijackers separated themselves into four groups and boarded four airliners with the intent to cause great damage to America and Americans. The first two aircraft hit the Twin Towers in New York City, the third airplane hit the pentagon, and the passengers of the fourth airliner fought with the hijackers, causing the plane to crash in Pennsylvania. The terrorist attacks that took place on 9/11 changed the course of modern history, and they changed much of daily life in America. This is an excellent video to review the events of 9/11 and to begin the discussion with the rising generation.
I remember 9/11 every single time that I take a flight. I silently curse the hijackers every time that I am required to take off my shoes and jacket and relinquish some of my privacy by having my bags x-rayed and/or searched before I can board an aircraft. I also curse them when I am unable to walk with loved ones through the airport before they board a flight to go home. Another time that I remember 9/11 is any time that I am required to enter a federal building and am required to do much of the same things that are required at airports.
There have been several times in the history of the United States that enemies have attacked Americans in our own land. After American colonists fought British army and navy for eight long years before winning the Revolutionary War, Great Britain came back a second time in the conflict known as the War of 1812. President James Madison and his entire cabinet, as well as hundreds of other people, were forced to flee out of Washington, D.C. and then to watch as the British military burned what is now known as the White House and other government buildings. It was during this war that the battle at Fort McHenry was fought, and Francis Scott Key gained his inspiration to write “The Star-Spangled Banner” that later became our national anthem. After this war, Great Britain finally realized that they had been beaten by the Americans.
The next attack took place in 1836 when President General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna and his Mexican troops launched an assault on the Alamo Mission (located in present day San Antonio, Texas). After a 13-day siege, the Mexicans overran the defense and killed the defenders. This attack was avenged a few days/weeks later in another battle.
More than 100 years later, on December 7, 1941, Japanese pilots bombed American ships in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, and left 21 ships damaged or sunk. The battleships Utah, Arizona, and Oklahoma were permanently lost in the attacks, while seven combat ships and at least three non-combat ships that were sunk in the harbor went on to fight in World War II. Japan learned that it had awakened a sleeping giant that gave great strength to the Allied Forces.
The last big attack on American soil took place on 9/11, and Americans must never forget what happened that day. We should not forget that approximately 3,000 Americans were killed by radical Islamist terrorists. We should not forget the heroes on United Airlines Flight 93 that stopped a third attack (possibly aimed at the White House or the Capitol Building) or the policemen and firefighters who sacrificed their own safety and lives to help others. Americans must not forget the terrible price that comes when a nation is not prepared to defend itself.
Early Americans adopted the “Star-Spangled Banner” as the national anthem as a reminder of the War of 1812, our second war for independence from Great Britain. Texans and other Americans adopted the motto “Remember the Alamo” to remind them of the destruction of the Alamo by Mexican military. The “Greatest Generation” and members of my generation cried “Remember Pearl Harbor” to remember the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Today’s generations should have the motto “Remember 9/11” to remember the unprovoked terrorist attacks in New York City and Washington, D.C. Americans should remember the attacks because their very lives may depend on remembering and using their memories to prepare.
We cannot afford to forget the attacks because they all came when enemies that considered the United States to be weak enough to be overthrown. We must maintain our military strength and ability to defend ourselves. Our peace is best achievable by convincing all enemies that we have the power to crush them if they choose to attack. “Peace through Strength” is a great motto for all generations.