9-11

“Let’s roll.”

America was on its knees when Todd Beamer spoke those words of defiance seven years ago today. He spoke them as part of the first counterattack by Americans against its emboldened enemy al Qaeda. Though Beamer and all of his fellows died when Flight 93 slammed into the ground in Pennsylvania, his words represented a battle cry against the threat fundamentalist Islamic radicalism now proved itself to be.

“Let’s roll.”

Seven years later, Americans still struggle to come to terms with what that fateful day meant to them, their lives, and their history. 9-11 prompted an ongoing war in Afghanistan, helped justify the invasion of Iraq, and has put the United States on collision courses with nations as diverse as Iran and Russia. 9-11 and its aftermath set the stage for some of the most divisive and self-destructive political rhetoric in American history.

“Let’s roll.”

That phrase echoes through the American soul today, seven years after those words made so much more sense. That sense has faded in the intervening years, now replaced with arguments about issues far removed from enemies that murdered almost 3,000 Americans. The mantra now is “change”. Change what? Seven years ago, the world changed forever. The only thing changing now is whether Americans remember why 9-11 matters.

“Let’s roll.”

This fight is not over. From Georgia to Pakistan, the enemies of the ideals of liberty and democracy gather, plot, and attack. Al Qaeda may be weakened, but it is not broken, and from its base in Pakistan it threatens still. Nations like Iran, North Korea, and Venezuela threaten the United States with weapons and alliances we cannot ignore. Russia, the Cold War enemy, brazenly moves to ally itself with nations that threaten to do America harm.

“Let’s roll.”

9-11 is a reminder that freedom is not free. Its price is eternal vigilance against all enemies foreign and domestic paid for in dedication and sacrifice and blood and lives. The only thing that stands between the libertarian republic of the United States of America and its enemies is the will of 300 million people. It is time for those people to remember and renew themselves. Seven years is a long time, but this fight is not over.

“Let’s roll.”

-=DLH=-

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