Defending the virtues of liberty, free markets, and civilization... plus some commentary on the passing scene.

Freedom's Fidelity

Thursday, September 11, 2003

Remembering 9/11/01 Very strange the second anniversary is upon us and no one knows quite what to do. Put me in that boat. A big part of me wants something like the footage from 9/11 re-run, all day. To remind us all of the hell that day was, and the way it shook us out of a (quite secure) slumber. In the summer if 2001 the news was of shark attacks, more shark attacks, and Gary Condit. (hey, wait a second, Gary Condit benefited from 9/11, he must have been involved in the conspiracy too!) Now all of a sudden I was hearing the first hand misery from the victims families... on an hourly basis. I suppose it's cliche' now, but the world changed. I went to work that morning, I work in the shadow of the Sears Tower, it could have been me and, it should have been me, if not for randomness, really. That's what sent it home. This was an attack on our civilization. An attack on going into work on a beautiful Tuesday morning to bring home the fruits of your labor to spend on whatever you want; your children, saving for the dream house, a nice dinner with your girlfriend, rounds for your friends at the bar. Whatever you want; that is the American way.

Perhaps that is why 9/11 had such a profound effect on me. I realized what a false sense of the world I had, and certainly I will blame some of that on my age, but I thought democracy had already won. I believed it was The End of History. It wasn't. There was a new struggle, a struggle of cultures. Terrorists vs. The West. Democracy vs. 12th century theocracy. Basic Human Rights vs. The Lash of Islamo-Fascists. That's what it has come down to. That is why our collective response is so important, terrorists must be hunted down and killed and democracy and the ideals of individual rights must be spread. The Arab world is governed by torture and massacre, their authoritarian governments control almost all information that flows in and out. The fertilizer for extremism. And it's grown. The time is now, the Middle East needs democracy, their citizens deserve it, and Iraq and Afghanistan are the starting points. Now is not the time to lose our resolve, now is not the time to forget what complacency leads too. Now is the time to remember that those that died on 9/11/01 were some of the first casualties in the war on terror. It was their deaths that shook us out of our restful lives and into this war. We should honor their deaths by carrying through on our quest to stamp out terror and extend the promise of individual liberty to the world over.

My heart goes out to those that were made widows, widowers, orphaned, or whatever the euphemism is for those that lost their loved ones and a piece of themselves on that epochal day. We Will Never Forget.

UPDATE: Here's a short list of other links and thoughts that are worth reading.

Jeff Jarvis is blogging from the WTC today. Excerpt:
: It's the children's voices that make this so much harder.
At the World Trade Center, the month, the day, and the minute come, and their voices cut through the sounds of the city. They sing our anthem: clear and strong and beautiful; that was hard enough. And then they start reading the names, the names that will continue for hours. It takes so long to read the names. It took so little time to kill the people. And then one of the children reads a name and says that this was her father;s name. And she adds, "I love you, Daddy, we miss you a lot."
God, I can't see how these children have the courage to do this.
I'm standing on the street crying as I have not been able to in two years. I'm not alone.
The street is crowded with people who have come to mourn and pay their tributes. They're crying, too.
It's the children, their loss, their pain, their strength. It's the children who make me cry.

New York Magazine has a great story on some individuals that were in stairwell B of the North Tower (some as high as the 22nd floor) when it collapsed. These 16 inexplicably survived, read their miraculous stories and how they are coping today, here.

Mark Steyn is brilliant as usual in this MUST READ COLUMN. It's near impossible to excerpt Steyn but this is too good to pass up:
There are basically two lines on Bush these days. At home, the media and the Democrats argue that Americans are somehow reeling under a terrorist onslaught. As the New York Times's elderly schoolgirl Maureen Dowd put it last week, 'We wanted to get rid of Osama and Saddam and the Taleban and al-Qa'eda. We didn't. They're replicating and coming at us like cockroaches.'

Really? Osama is replicating? That's news to me. Considering that the original hasn't been seen in a year and three quarters, it looks more like he's plicated. I said in these pages 15 months ago that he's dead, he's bin Laden to rest' he's pushing up daisy-cutters, and I'm sticking with that.

Meanwhile, in Europe, the tinfoil-hat brigade has gone mainstream. Of course America hasn't been attacked again. That's because 9/11 was a neocon conspiracy to give Washington a pretext to grab Iraq's oil and Afghanistan's, er, rubble.

Stephen Green's thoughts are here and should not be missed either. Same goes for Christopher Hitchens who takes a somewhat iconoclastic look at the 2nd anniversary.

And finally, A Small Victory has been collecting and publishing thoughts for her rememberance project titled "Voices: Stories from 9 11 and Beyond" It is quite a collection.

Another Update I've been waiting for this all day and now it's up, go read James Lileks right now.


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