It was a Tuesday morning. Jetliners flew into the World Trade Center in lower Manhattan. Another one plowed into the Pentagon. A fourth jetliner crashed in a rural Pennsylvania field as passengers struggled valiantly against those who hijacked it.
The date was Sept. 11, 2001, now known colloquially as 9/11.
About a month later, President Bush — just months on the job — launched the war against the monsters who did the terrible deed.
And the war continues. It is the most unconventional of conflicts. We cannot declare victory and go home. The terrorists will lurk likely forever, for as long as human beings inhabit Earth.
The president stood on the rubble at Ground Zero, bullhorn in hand. He summoned the nation to unite in this struggle. For a time, we did.
The war will go on. It’s already the longest conflict in our nation’s history. Sure, we killed the mastermind behind the 9/11 attack, Osama bin Laden. We’ve killed many terror leaders and thousands of their minions. Others have emerged to take their place. We knew that would happen.
Our nation will recall the 9/11 tragedy on Tuesday. They’ll read the names of the victims who died when the Twin Towers burst into flames and fell. They’ll read the names of those who died in the Pentagon and in that Pennsylvania field. We’ll remember and honor the heroes who ran into the inferno to save others’ lives.
We also will honor and salute the men and women who have answered the call to duty as President Bush took us to war against a ruthless, cunning and elusive enemy.
None of us knows when this fight will end. We don’t even know if it will end … ever! We hear brave talk about how we’re going to destroy the enemy. However, it is just talk. I remain dubious as to whether we’ll ever rid the planet of every single terrorist or organization intend on sowing the seeds of fear.
I am one who supports the on-going war against terror. Yes, the cost of this war is terrible. However, as the president said when he launched the campaign against the Taliban, al-Qaeda and other terrorists in Afghanistan, it is far better to fight them there than to fight them here.
Seventeen years later, the war goes on.