Throughout our history, our nation has faced many evils. Sadly, man has the unerring tendency to engage in the most despicable of behaviors, all in the name of serving a “greater” power or cause. It would seem that the United States has often been caught in the cross-hairs of these evils. The very birth of our nation was predicated on the defeat of tyranny, namely, the “Divine Right of Kings.” The nation was split, literally and figuratively, on the question of whether or not one man could hold a fellow man as property. We, as a people, were horrified by the Rape of Nanjing, the attack of Pearl Harbor, the Death Camps of Nazi Germany, the Gulags of the Soviet Union, the Killing Fields of Cambodia- the list could go on and on. In many of these examples, thousands of Americans died to end the atrocities.
Over the years, the evils that man perpetrates against man became something that we read about in the newspaper, saw on TV, or saw on-line. We became desensitized to it because we thought we could still hide behind our oceans, and pretend it just happened in other countries-not here. Of course, we had the occasional crime spree, serial killer, and even the World Trade Center bombing in the 90’s, but none of those caught the public’s imagination in a truly significant way.
Then came September 11, 2001. All of us were going about our daily routines, thinking of nothing more than having a routine day. Then, we were shocked out of our complacency.
There was panic.
There was surprise.
There was horror.
Our hearts sank when the towers fell.
Then, something happened. Something American-something good, came out of nowhere. All over the nation people gave blood; volunteers from all over the US poured into New York to lend assistance; and Americans were more united than they had been in decades, much to the dismay of some.
On September 11, 2001, the United States faced evil once again. And in the face of that evil, we were united. We became united in our Revolution, we were re-united in the Civil War, and we were united in WWII. When we face evil, we seem to have that gift of setting everything else aside, and uniting along our common beliefs. That is, perhaps, our greatest gift as a people. And while we should never forget the evil that was committed on that day, we also must be reminded that there is a second, more insidious evil at work. The second evil consists of the forces that did not like our being united on September 12, 2001. In fact, it was ridiculed. It consists of the factions that do not want us to remember what happened on September 11. It is the evil that wants us disunited. It is the evil that would have us trade our freedom for security. It is the evil that will explain away the events of September 11, and tell us that we should just let it go. It is the evil that walks among us, and the evil that controls many of our institutions, and sits in the halls of power in this nation. Remember the religious zealots that committed the atrocity, and do not trust those that would call it by any other name, as they are just as much your enemy as those that would kill you in the name of their god.
God bless the Unites States of America, and may we always be united in the face of evil.