Sunday, September 12, 2010

Another 9/11 anniversary

If a person needed another piece of evidence that proved time is flying, then the fact that yesterday was the ninth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks should be sufficient.

It seems like just the other day that a beautiful late summer morning was turned upside down by al-Qaeda. Many of us began the morning going through our daily routine not knowing that our country would change in the next few hours.

Of course, this change was not going to be a small one. Within weeks of the event, our nation was at war in Afghanistan in an attempt to flush out the ones responsible for the attacks.

The Afghanistan war still continues, and the length of this military effort has worn on many. When we entered it, I doubt many of us expected it to take so long.

However, terrorists in that region are especially tricky when it comes to hiding from our efforts.

In hindsight, we should have known that this would not be quickly resolved. After all, the Soviet Union fought a 10-year war there in the 1980s. Though the terrorists lack the power to go toe-to-toe with the United States, they have made up for that with resourcefulness.

The Afghanistan and Pakistan border is a treacherous place, and our soldiers are to be commended as they continue to pursue the enemy there. Now that the combat phase of the Iraq War has ended, our forces in Afghanistan should have more resources to get the job done.

In addition to this, there were many other changes here in America after the attacks. Anybody who frequently flies knows this. Though going through an airport can try our patience, it is a necessary sacrifice to prevent similar attacks like the ones on 9/11.

Perhaps the most important aspect of the attacks is that another attack like it has not happened on our soil. When the attacks occurred, there was discussion that a new age had begun in which the United States would have to tolerate frequent attacks like what happens in the Middle East.

This has not happened. For all the criticism that the Bush and Obama administrations have received, both administrations deserve credit that nothing like 9/11 has happened here since.

As the problem of illegal immigration shows, it is not that difficult for people to enter the country undetected. It has been surprising that terrorists have not been able to exploit this. When the topic of illegal immigration is discussed, it is surprising that it is not connected more directly to national security.

Let us hope that our government continues to make homeland security a point of emphasis. Complacency is a strong foe. The fact that we have gone such a long time without an attack could lull many into a state of false security.

As the events of nine years ago showed us, the United States is not bulletproof just because it is a super power. In a sense, the freedom and liberty we enjoy makes us that much more vulnerable to another attack. Despite the size of our federal government, it is not a totalitarian regime that peers in the windows of all its citizens looking for enemies.

Just like the Pearl Harbor attack rocked a previous generation, the 9/11 attacks rocked our generation. As a society, we like to say that we want to leave our country better than we found it. We want the next generation to enjoy a stronger and more vibrant country.

If that is so, we can never forget what happened nine years ago.

If we do, it is much more likely that it will happen again.

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