Remember the Lessons of 9/11

Written by Bill Thomas on September 11, 2019

Eighteen years ago, our nation was attacked by radical Islamic terrorists. Four planes were hijacked on a Tuesday morning. Two of them were flown into the World Trade Center in New York City. One of them crashed into the Pentagon in Washington D.C.. The fourth crashed in a field in Shanksville, PA, eighty miles from Pittsburgh. Many Americans died that day.

That day, like December 7, 1941 before it, is indelibly etched into the hearts and minds of many Americans. Many of us remember exactly where we were on that Tuesday morning when reports about a plane hitting the trade center were first broadcast. It’s hard to fathom, though, that there are some Americans who will be eligible to vote in the 2020 election who have no first-hand memory of 9/11.

Foremost, we must remember those who died that day. 2,977 innocent people lost their lives on a bright morning eighteen years ago. Almost two decades later, families and friends still deal with the loss of a brother, father, sister, mother, son or daughter. The 9/11 attacks not only became the single deadliest terrorist attack in human history, but they were also the deadliest incident ever for firefighters, as well as for law enforcement officers in the United States.

The loss of life and the utter sadness of it must never be forgotten.

There are some secondary lessons that we should pay attention to as well.

The situation in the Middle East is volatile and continued support for Israel matters. One of the reasons the attack occurred is our support for Israel. According to the Council on Foreign Relations, Al-Qaeda’s violent opposition of the United States stemmed from its support of “infidel” governments, including those of Israel, Saudi Arabia and Egypt, along with the United Nations, and America’s involvement in the 1991 Persian Gulf War and in Somalia’s ’92-’93 Operation Restore Hope mission.

Those who were not alive or aware at the time of 9/11 need to know this truth.

In a letter to the United States published by The Guardian on November 24, 2002, Osama bin Laden wrote, “The British handed over Palestine, with your help and your support, to the Jews, who have occupied it for more than 50 years; years overflowing with oppression, tyranny, crimes, killing, expulsion, destruction and devastation. The creation and continuation of Israel is one of the greatest crimes, and you are the leaders of its criminals.”

Though Israel is hated by some in the region, they’ve been a staunch ally of the United States.

Business Insider notes, “the US and Israel have one of the strongest military to military alliances in the world.” Two key components of this alliance are intelligence sharing and a commitment to a democratic government.

This lesson is being pushed aside today by many on the left. Maya Wind, in her article “How Liberal Americans Sustain Israel’s Occupation,” writes, “the Democratic Party is embroiled in contentious debates about the Israeli occupation of Palestine. The issue currently divides establishment liberals from a rising—and more radical—left within the party.”

Joshua Keating, in Slate, notes, “Rank-and-file Democrats, particularly progressives and younger voters, have grown increasingly critical of the Israeli government and U.S. support for the country.”

Support for Israel, at least among Democrats, is waning. Those voters too young to recall 9/11 may not know much about the Middle East turmoil. Today, on the eighteenth remembrance of 9/11, may all Americans be mindful that while some turn their backs on Israel, the United States, under President Trump, remains a beacon of steadfast support for the Jewish State.

Let’s remember, too, the lesson of American greatness. This nation was attacked because some hated our way of life. Capitalism, freedom, democracy, higher standards of living were all under attack by those who sought to destroy our culture. Bin Laden slanderously maligned the American culture is his letter.

After the Bush administration, we had a president who spent a lot of time apologizing for our country. Current Democrat candidates for president also seem eager to criticize our country and want her to do poorly.

Democrat Beto O’Rourke, in New Hampshire, said of the U.S., “This is a country that has been defined by foundational, systemic, endemic racism since the very founding of this country.”

One of the lower-tier candidates for president, John Delaney, spoke honestly of the Democrats when he accused them of “cheering on a recession” to hurt President Donald Trump. The Democrats are more than just flirting with socialism. Some of their leading candidates are embracing and peddling socialist plans. The message here is that capitalism is deeply flawed and must be replaced.

There isn’t much room for pride and patriotism in that context.

The Trump administration has been effectively working to “Make America Great Again.” It’s been more than just a nifty slogan. The results are all around us.

Today we remember. We remember those who died. We remember the heroes who sacrificed their lives. We remember their families who still deal with loss. We remember the lessons from that awful day nearly two decades ago. We remember that we’re blessed to live in this great land. May God bless America.

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Bill Thomas
Bill Thomas lives in Washington, Missouri and is a professor at St. Louis Christian College. He's also on staff at First Christian Church in Washington, Missouri. He's authored two novellas, From the Ashes and The Sixty-First Minute published by White Feather Press of MI and three Bible studies, Surrounded by Grace, The Critical Questions and More and The Road to Victory published by CSS Publishing of OH.