I didn’t lose any loved ones in the 9/11 attacks. I didn’t lose loved ones fighting in Iraq or Afghanistan. Many did. Their lives were forever changed by 9/11. But most of our lives weren’t. 9/11 is Pearl Harbor or the JFK assassination, a horrible moment in our nation’s history and little else. It’s some incredible images and a chance to ask “where were you when?” and a hassle when we go to the airport. Meanwhile our enemies are plotting the next attack and we’re busy playing fantasy football and voting for Dancing With the Stars contestants.
I’m not opposed to various forms of entertainment. In fact, one of the ways we have “defeated” terrorists is by not letting them take away our way of life. We refuse to live in fear. And rightly so. This isn’t Israel, where every “pregnant” woman might be hiding a bomb and where you have to wonder what’s in that guy’s backpack or under his coat. At least, not yet. And we have better security than you or I could possibly imagine. Our men and women in uniform—military, law enforcement, intelligence—are some of the bravest and best we have, and they do incredible work. I mean INCREDIBLE work. But they are not foolproof. They are not infallible. Because the terrorists do some pretty good work too. And they are persistent, willing to die for what they believe, and growing. Think we’re safe? Remember the Boston Marathon or the Fort Hood shooting? Are you sure all the illegal aliens streaming across our border are refugees? Have you seen how leaders of other countries defy our President? America is still a great nation, but to think we aren’t vulnerable to another attack, to think that “they wouldn’t dare” or aren’t capable, is foolish and dangerous.
So what do we do? I don’t want to live in terror, looking for a jihadist under every bush. I also don’t want—because of political policy, personal indifference, or forgetful ignorance—to go through another 9/11. I certainly hope that isn’t what’s required to wake us up. But more and more, I fear it might be.
I thought long and hard about this post, writing and rewriting, pondering what I wanted to say. And I concluded that I can’t say it much better than Darryl Worley already did. His song’s a decade old, and a few of the lyrics reflect that. But it is incredibly pertinent, perhaps more so as time has gone by.
What do we do? For starters, as the anniversary of 9/11 approaches, take a few minutes, listen to this song, and ask yourself if you’ve forgotten.