9/11: Six years later


These are the times that try mens souls: The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country; but he that stands it NOW, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.

   Thomas Paine

I remember watching the Fox News Channel while I was getting dressed that morning in Sterling, getting ready to meet a deadline for the newspaper for which I worked. I remember the second tower being slammed into by terrorist hijackers, confounding and frightening a nation at large. I remember Lee Adler from my synagogue back home in Springfield, NJ. I remember my then-future wife unable to reach family via telephone from her D.C. law office.

Thus the opening salvo to the current world war we are fighting. Unlike previous global conflicts, the United States is fighting an enemy of no national borders, no discernible uniform and no organized military forces making this a more erratic war needing to be fought in an unconventional manner.

The United States is not in a declared war against Iraq. Iraq is, however, the current battlefield in this war on terror a war that is being fought over civilization and freedom. Freedom to write this column, freedom to disagree with its content, freedom to worship as one wishes, freedom to not worship at all, freedom to send young girls to school, freedom to vote, or sadly, freedom to not vote.

With the under-the-radar-screen actions of Iran going unchallenged on the global stage, there is no doubt the next battlefield could be there. Being ever so vigilant is vital. Terrorists only need be accurate once, while troops and law enforcement need be accurate 100 percent of the time. The enemy is a patient one. They waited eight years to strike another blow at the World Trade Center, from 1993 to 2001. As American citizens it is imperative to assist law enforcement as it ultimately benefits us all; and a demonstration of gratitude toward our brave men and women in the armed forces goes a long way.

While we cherish our freedom, it is certainly not free. Even our safety is not guaranteed. Sacrifice is necessary be it on the battlefield by our troops or those of us at home who are simply asked to remove their shoes or head wear at an airport. We are fortunate to live in a country where it is not necessary to be surrounded by armed guards at our bus, train, metro and subway stations.

But also remember, for those who object to this war, for those who believe if the United States were not engaged in conflict in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan or any other place where our troops are stationed that our enemies would simply leave us alone we did not have troops in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran or Saudi Arabia on Sept. 11, 2001. Those who seek to destroy the United States, Israel, democracy, Western Civilization and freedom will stop at nothing to achieve their murderous and terrorist goals.

Lee Adler was among the nearly 3,000 victims of foreign terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, at the World Trade Center. Who do you recall from that hellish day who did not make it home, only to have their families repeat their own hellish nightmares six years later? Who do you remember who did not return home from the Pentagon, or Flight 93 that crashed into a Pennsylvania field? Their deaths should not have been in vain. Their memories should be for inspiration.

Sanford D. Horn is a political consultant living in Alexandria.