As I look out my window at the landscape and the weather today, I can’t help noting that today’s weather is almost exactly the same as it was 6 years ago. The sky is so blue and bright it nearly hurts to look at it. When the sun broke the horizon this morning, it was behind a small cloud that only served to give the sky a splash of color for a while before the sun rose above it and became brilliant. The temperature is mild – in the upper 50s, and there is no breeze disturbing the curtains on my window.
Six years ago I had my radio on, as usual and the announcer interrupted the song that was playing to break the news that “…there has been some sort of accident at the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City. Thick, black smoke is just billowing out into the sky over Manhattan…” I looked at the clock in my kitchen. It was 10 minutes to 8 CDT.
We watched in disbelief and horror as the morning and its violence unfolded. The second plane hit and the Twin Towers crumbled before our eyes an hour or so later. The scene at the Pentagon was no less devastating, only smaller. And speculation was rampant regarding Flight 93 over Pennsylvania until the farewell answering machine and voice mail messages started to surface.
Slowly, over the following hours, days and weeks, information came out and we came to understand that we had been attacked. And for what? Did they want Manhattan? Did they want to assume control of the seaport on our east coast? Was it an act of retaliation? If so, for what? And whose warriors were they? And what kind of warfare is this where civilians – and only civilians - are targeted, “bushwhacked”, murdered in their own offices? And where do we go to fight back? How do we defend ourselves, our citizens, our freedoms from an enemy who hides and only comes out to blow up busses, airplanes and buildings to kill more civilians?
We have some of the answers, but not all. We were attacked by people who don’t like what we believe and who disapprove of the way we live. They don’t want our geography; they aren’t interested in assuming control of our economy. They don’t want anything other than our hearts and minds and if we won’t give them up, they’ll kill us.
This is a war we didn’t start, but we can not afford to stop until we have won.