Have we forgotten?

Father David Epps's picture

One of the great strengths of Americans is that we have historically been able to put the past behind us and move forward.

My father’s generation did battle with the Axis powers in World War II. The atrocities committed by those nations included the Bataan Death March, the beheading of American soldiers, the wanton slaughter of 6 million Jews, and other horrors too numerous to name. Yet, today, we are friends and allies with the Japanese, the Germans, and the Italians.

But our willing amnesia also has a down side — we forget too quickly. It is now eight years since the murderous attacks on the Twin Towers, the Pentagon, and Flight 93. The enemy stills lives and is plotting additional carnage, Islamic radicalism continues unabated, terror training camps are still in existence — yet we seemed to have “moved on.”

One of the reasons that Americans were able to move forward after the devastation of World War II is that the enemy had been thoroughly, utterly, completely defeated and was stripped of the power to do any more violence.

This current enemy is still cunning, determined, and deadly. It is to the credit of the Bush and, so far, the Obama administrations that we have not suffered another domestic attack. It is to their shame that the leader of the mass murderers has not been brought to account.

Have we forgotten how horrified we were on Sept. 11, 2001? I was in my home office writing an article when I received a call from a friend to turn on the television. The first tower had been hit by a passenger plane. At the time, it all seemed to be a tragic accident. Then, as I was watching, the second plane struck the second tower. This was soon followed by news of the attack on the Pentagon and by the failed mission to crash a fourth airliner into the White House or the Capitol Building.

Had it not been for the heroes who fought back on Flight 93, the news would have been even worse. As it was, 3,017 men, women, and children were murdered and over 6,291 people were injured. The U.S. economy tanked and a number of businesses never fully recovered. Life, as we knew it, changed on that day.

Yet, as I travel through airports, I hear people complain about the security measures as though they were no longer necessary. Politicians are declaring that the “war on terror” is now a passé term, and some people act as though the incarcerated terrorists, like a drunk driver, just “made a mistake and want to go home now.”

All the while, in places around the world, Islamic radicals continue to bomb, shoot, kill, main, behead, and mutilate — in many cases, their victims are other Muslims. Have we forgotten?

On Sept. 11, 2001, we looked into the face of evil. Men filled with a searing hatred coldly plotted the slaughter of civilians who were simply going about their business. Those men, or others who have taken the places of those killed or captured, are still doing their wicked work. We are in their cross-hairs. If they can figure out how to do it, they will kill you and everyone you love.

Now, instead of hearing about these harbingers of destruction, we hear about those pitiful fools who believe that Israel or the United States planned, or at least knew about the 9/11 plot and did nothing. We wring our hands over whether the CIA was overzealous in its efforts to prevent additional attacks. We demonize the very people who worked to keep us alive.

The Nazis are gone. Il Duce and Hitler were destroyed. The Emperor’s military was defeated. Al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden are still alive and well and are still committed to our demise and the destruction of our civilization. Have we forgotten?

[David Epps is the pastor of Christ the King Church, 4881 Hwy. 34 E., Sharpsburg, GA 30277, between Peachtree City and Newnan. Services are held Sundays at 8:30 and 10 a.m. He is also the bishop of the Mid-South Diocese (www.midsouthdiocese.org) and is the mission pastor of Christ the King Church in Champaign, IL. He may be contacted at frepps@ctkcec.org.]

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Submitted by Whiskers165 on Mon, 09/14/2009 - 11:22pm.

I think what you're alluding to is an increased military presence in the middle east and central asia as the best way to remember 9/11. Here's my take on a better way to remember 9/11.

Asymmetric wars never end well when the traditional military force isn't playing on it's home turf and it's still a 50/50 shot when they are on their own turf. A war on terror in middle east simply won't do anything for the US except send it's soldier's home dead at a steady rate and bolster support for the enemy in the occupied nation. Don't believe me? Let's look at history.

Vietnam. It was a war that never could be won, well at least not without multitudes more soldiers in the country than America was willing to give. The Vietcong was not so different than the various terror cells in the middle east are today. They both operate underground, they both are funded and supplied well enough to operate despite the whole being underground thing, they both have new recruits joining their ranks everyday to fight against what they view as a hostile occupying army, and they both are willing to fight to the bitter end employing the cheapest and cruelest of tactics to pick at the enemy until they're ready to call it quits. They both also are hard to strike at. Our military wasn't able to defeat the Vietcong. They killed our soldiers repeatedly until our people decided they'd seen enough flags draped over caskets and put themselves out of harms way.

My second example of asymmetric warfare not working for the traditional power in history would be when the Soviet's invaded Afghanistan in the 1980's. The Mujahideen was the Islamic guerrilla army that ultimately killed enough Soviet soldiers and wasted enough Soviet funds for their government to call it quits to. The Mujahideen is the guerrilla military organization that gave birth to all the terror cells we see today. Osama Bin Laden was actually a Mujahideen soldier back in the day. A good portion of the older terrorist leaders got their feet wet in the field of guerrilla war and terrorism during the 1980's in that war. The American government covertly funded and supplied the Mujahideen and British operatives crossed into the country to help train the, what were referred to at the time by the western world, freedom fighters. The most interesting thing of all in my opinion about this training they underwent was that they were trained on how to make and deploy IED's. But anyhow, these guerrilla fighters were different than the Vietcong and almost identical to the rebels we face today in Iraq and Afghanistan. They have no capital city, they have hardly any tangible targets, their forces are spread out amongst large areas, assimilating and attacking only at vulnerable moments, they have no real central government amongst them (sure they have leaders but each cell acts almost autonomously), their ranks are bolstered by residents of the occupied country turning to twisted radical distorted religious messages out of hatred towards our support Israel due to a hateful general attitude of the population, and they are willing to live and fight in terrible conditions because to them both the war against the Soviets and the war against America are holy. Long story short, the Soviets got tired of their soldiers dying and spending money only to be attacked over and over again by forces that never seemed to go away.

So what does history tell us? Asymmetric warfare won't end well for us in the middle east. So what can we do seeing as these guerrilla fighters don't seem to be happy with us simply not being in their nations? Very simply increase security within our country and on our borders. That would be the best way I think to remember 9/11. Work our hardest to prevent more American deaths both at home and overseas by not fighting unwinable wars and bolstering security all around our country. Personally I think the Patriot Act was a step in the right direction. More power to the government to stop terrorism is always a good thing in my opinion, as long as it's necessary power.

dawn69's picture
Submitted by dawn69 on Tue, 09/15/2009 - 12:18am.

"Very simply increase security within our country and on our borders. That would be the best way I think to remember 9/11."

On that note, we can agree. I would prefer more border control as well and concede that Bush should have done more on that front.

Submitted by Bonkers on Tue, 09/15/2009 - 4:55am.

We irritate our traveling public now enormously at airports "increasing security internally.
No matter how many thousands we send and how many walls we build, illegals will get here one way or another.

What we need is a better FBI and CIA for travel checks and put some company CEOs in jail who hire illegals to roof and pick vegetables!

Have you ever tried to stand guard at an airport line 8-10 hours every day with your eyes constantly peeled on a screen or on people? No, and no one else will for 10 dollars an hour or even 20 dollars!
No jobs--no illegals!

Anyway they won't use just airports anymore! How about water supplies and lakes, IEDs at federal buildings, on our Interstates, at our churches, at our universities?
They can get in anywhere in Canada or Florida or the Gulf of Mexico. Certainly California.
Many will be home grown.
I think Bin Laden said just yesterday that Israel is the real cause of their hitting us and our allies anywhere just as well as here!
I suggest that we quit ground wars in the middle east---just blow up what we don't like and have a three million person military on ground here. Yes that is Isolationism, just for the military.

Submitted by Davids mom on Sat, 09/12/2009 - 3:44pm.

David's mom had the opportunity to spend the day with persons who reside in another state - and spent the day remembering and volunteering. It's wonderful that this day will be a memorial to those we lost on the 11th of September - and an opportunity to give service in their names. There were many in Georgia who did the same.

S. Lindsey's picture
Submitted by S. Lindsey on Fri, 09/11/2009 - 7:20pm.

Today was/is a day of remembrance.. A day where 3000 people gave their lives unwillingly in the War on Terror.. A War we did not even know was happening.

I thought a lot today.. about the individuals. Mothers, Fathers, Sons and Daughters all. About how many probably looked up from their desk at the last few seconds of their lives. Not having enough time to even cry out.. Dying in a hell on Earth conflagration.
Then about those above.. in the floors yet to be consumed by hell. They did have time. Unfortunately.. You see those that died quick.. well they were the lucky ones. It is seared forever into my memory those that choose to jump out of the 70th floor rather than burn to death.. and still they were the lucky ones.. The real unlucky ones were still inside with no hope.. no hope of being rescued.. no hope of ever seeing their spouses, children Mother or Father. As first one then the other building collapse.. Well you have seen the videos.. You should know the story.

Today the subject here was not about heroism the loss and the coming together of America.. No it was about TWO TEACHERS who wanted to get FREAKY.. Somehow that just doesn’t seem to mount the same sense of outrage in me.

I rode thru some of the Neighborhoods today.. I saw a total of 6 just 6 American Flags flying in REMEMBERENCE.. Truly a sad statement on a sad day.

"Any People who expect to be both IGNORANT and FREE, in a state of CIVILIZATION, expects what NEVER was and NEVER will be."

Submitted by normal on Sat, 09/12/2009 - 9:21am.

Glad you made this comment. I also road through some cluster housing on Braelinn Rd. One neighborhood of 39 homes had only 4 flags up. The next one 5 the next one 7 of 45 homes. How pitiful

Submitted by Elfie on Sat, 09/12/2009 - 10:48am.

yesterday, because it was raining when I left in morning.I was taught that the flag was not to be exposed to rain. It is acceptable now only if it is an all-weather flag. Mine is not, it is the flag off my father's casket, a Navy veteran. A middle school in PTC did not have their flag out in the morning for the same reason. Perhaps others felt the same.

Tug13's picture
Submitted by Tug13 on Fri, 09/11/2009 - 8:04pm.

I haven't forgotten. If you drove by my house today you would have seen my American Flag flying in the breeze.

I have thought about those who lost their lives, and their families who were shattered. I have to hope that many others did too.

I agree with you...it's sad when the blogs are mostly about two Teachers who chose to ruin their lives and careers.

Tug Smiling

Submitted by Bonkers on Sat, 09/12/2009 - 6:56am.

Plus tens of thousands with brains shook loose from their skull!

The price we have paid so far with our military youth (avg age 19) and THEIR families.
We have destroyed the Reserves and the National Guard and their poor families, yet we give the families of 9/11 a million bucks apiece!
Afghanistan would have been far enough in 2002. Not Iraq.
Priorities seem misplaced to me.

We are too vengeful and greedy.

Submitted by AlarminglyCorrect on Sat, 09/12/2009 - 8:42am.

Don't say "we" unless you're pregnant. You don't speak for us.

Submitted by Bonkers on Tue, 09/15/2009 - 4:31am.

No "we" huh?

Seems to me you did those things more so than I!

S. Lindsey's picture
Submitted by S. Lindsey on Fri, 09/11/2009 - 8:14pm.

was feeling mighty alone all day.. Thanks for Remembering.

"Any People who expect to be both IGNORANT and FREE, in a state of CIVILIZATION, expects what NEVER was and NEVER will be."

Submitted by AtHomeGym on Sat, 09/12/2009 - 10:48am.

Old Glory flying, you are welcome to come over to my house where she flies 24x7. It is nylon, weather resistant and is illuminated at night by a photo cell controlled light.

Submitted by Bonkers on Fri, 09/11/2009 - 7:07pm.

It is my thinking now that although Bin Laden had training camps in Afghanistan many years ago, he does nor control most of the carnage in the world by terrorists as we once thought.

Now, to call such torture as was inflicted upon some we captured as terrorists, many of whom were not, being "over zealous," is the darnedest thing I have ever heard, not considering Dick Cheney!

I thought that kind of Christian preaching went out with the Crusades and the Inquisition!

Man, you are a Marine General---not a Reverend in my opinion.
You will be proud of that statement but you shouldn't be!

S. Lindsey's picture
Submitted by S. Lindsey on Fri, 09/11/2009 - 7:24pm.

at least you're not a birther though.. They are the really freaky people.

BTW.. You SUCK. To bring that up here is tasteless at best at worse well I am not to sure what could be worse then you. If the CIA had of been turned lose instead of hamstrung by the Clinton Administration then maybe just maybe this day would be remembered for a different reason.

To worry about a few TERRORIST being subjected to a loud rendention of "Rocky Mountain High" I agree does sound like torture but no sorry no tears for the TERRORIST from me..

"Any People who expect to be both IGNORANT and FREE, in a state of CIVILIZATION, expects what NEVER was and NEVER will be."

Submitted by Bonkers on Sat, 09/12/2009 - 6:49am.

but, but, Clinton!!

make love not war!

meanoldconservatives's picture
Submitted by meanoldconservatives on Sat, 09/12/2009 - 8:48am.

"make love not war!"

Don't you wish you could still do either of those? That has to make you feel really inadequate. Kind of explains the things you write here....

Submitted by smile on Fri, 09/11/2009 - 5:35pm.

You are absolutely right. There are still people in this world who want to destroy America and democracy and will if they are given the chance. I am thankful that we have and have had governments who are willing to do what it takes to keep us safe. I am thankful for all the men and women in the military.
I hope Bin Laden and his gang will be captured or killed. We must not forget that we can be attacked at any moment and must stand firm in our defense of our country and ideals.
We have not had a major attack in this country since 9/11 and we must thank Bush/Cheney, Obama, the CIA, FBI, our allies, and other law enforcement for that.
God bless all 9/11 victims. You have not been forgotten. Time may help heal the painful hurt of that day for those of us who watched on TV, but we will never forget you.

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