Most Americans could not imagine the day when the United States would be attacked, could not imagine a country or group that had the guts or resources to go against the greatest nation in the world. After Tuesday, September 11, 2001’s events, that idea has been shaken.
Many people are comparing the terrorist attacks to Pearl Harbor. Though most Americans have only read about and seen video of the “day of infamy,” it is easy to see the resemblance. The difference between the two events is what makes Tuesday’s attacks so horrific, the fact that we did not know whom the enemy could be.
When Pearl Harbor was attacked, we knew Japan to be the culprit and it also meant we knew where to retaliate; we could immediately strike back and did so with the raid on Tokyo with Jimmy Dolittle’s small squadron of bombers.
Because of the initial uncertainty of who was behind the hijacked planes, we were forced to wait and waiting in a time like that leaves most people in agony. That agony often results in the common sight of lines of people waiting hours to donate blood during times of crisis. Knowing that these tragic deaths could possibly go without justice for some time ate away at my heart.
In the past, images on the news of refugees in other countries fleeing from destruction and death covered in dirt and blood never personally affected me. Sympathy towards the suffering was a common emotion, but a real connection as an involved human being was not.
As the endless broadcasts showed those same images over and over again, a tremendous sense of pain replaced the sympathy because a connection with the sufferers was present in my heart.
The President and Congress are to be commended for not reacting hastily. If we began immediately striking at who was assumed to be responsible for this tragedy without sufficient evidence, then we would have been no better than the hijackers themselves; but now that their identities are known, retaliation is necessary and should come swiftly.
As the person and their backers behind this attack are being located, I can’t help but feel pity for them. Not because they are marked to pay for what they did, but because their minds were so tightly closed that they could not understand and accept differences as differences. It makes me proud to know that as an American, I was brought up with a sense of tolerance.
As I watched the coverage of the attacks, my mind was filled with images that will stay with me forever. In fact, trying to sleep in the nights that followed in order to rest for the task of reporting the news to you was a hard thing to accomplish. The culprit keeping me from rest was the visions of people running from an unknown evil lurking in a billowing cloud of smoke and ash that remained in my mind.
We, as Americans, have been forever changed. We have all heard this phrase so many times during the week, but it is the truth.
We can no longer think of ourselves as an untouchable force. We have been infiltrated and people have been lost.
Instead of the big brother role our military and government usually play, we now have a different task in front of us. We must work together to rebuild our sense of security for not only ourselves, but also, most importantly, for our children even though we know that safety has had a gaping hole torn in by hijacked airlines, just like the towers and the Pentagon.
The town of Winslow reacted to the situation across the country as best it could. Local authorities are to be commended for doing their part in ensuring the community’s safety and the people of Winslow are to be praised for supporting each other through love and compassion.
Americans are to be commended for its strength in this time of trial.
The main goal of these attacks was to send us a message of death and that goal was accomplished. But we took that message and sent them one of our own that America’s freedoms cannot be destroyed by explosions or crumbling buildings because the ideals that make us Americans are stronger than concrete and steel.
I echo President Bush’s words, “We are a great people defending a great nation.” In a time of pain and struggle, we stand together and will not falter.