9/11, 15 Years Later

9/11, 15 Years Later

This last weekend marked the anniversary of the Sept. 11th attacks.

As is the case, every year the patriotic memes went up on social media.  Flags were flown outside of garages, and the families of over three thousand souls wept silently for their loss.

With each passing year the memory fades a little more, the impact of those events become less and less shattering.  Children, like my own daughter that were born around the turn of the century are reaching an age when the implications of Sept. 11th are reaching a point of cognitive understanding.  Some of those, now young adults, feel the anger and sorrow we all felt on that day of infamy.  Others… well, others have only a vague idea of how the events have altered our way of life, and the geopolitical events that led to the attacks.

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As I reflected on the attack, I was brought back to the memory of an ad I saw only a couple of days after Sept. 11th.  There was a dark screen that faded into a picture of a suburban street.  The street had cars parked in front of homes, but no people were present.  It then faded to black.  Words appeared on the darkened screen: “On September 11th terrorists attacked us.  Their goal was to change our way of life.”  The screen then faded back to the same shot on of the street.  Now however, each home had multiple American Flags waving in the breeze.  It then faded back to black.  “They were successful.”

There was no sponsor named.  Someone or some corporation simply felt it was necessary to put this out to the American people.

There was a tragic beauty in this act.

Our nation was in shock and mourning and someone felt this ad might help us find our strength.

Contrary to what many think, we are not a nation of war mongers.  Our country was formed in battle and we have paid for our freedom time and time again through the sacrifice of blood and treasure.  We don’t have territorial expansionist goals.  There is no plan to expand America beyond our borders… save manifest destiny… there has never been.  What we do export though is a culture.  A culture based on the egalitarian concept that all people are created equal and our endowed by their creator with rights that cannot be surrendered, conferred or co-opted through the coercive use of force.  Among those rights… are a fundamental right to exist.

This culture that has drawn the imagination of some and the ire of others.

Freedom… the philosophical tenants of freedom are poorly defined.  While we maybe the “land of the free”, the definition of what it means to be free is poorly understood.  For some, freedom is the ability of the individual to live as an individual without the coercive power of the state dictating the nature of how that life is structured.  For others, freedom means the ability to live without consequences.  Others see freedom as a state of existence where the fundamental needs of a human are met without the nagging insecurity that comes from wondering where the next meal or rent payment will be coming from.

Regardless of the conceptual belief in the value of freedom… and this is something that tracks pretty closely along political lines… we all share one fundamental common theme… we are all free to exist.

That existence threatens the political existence of philosophical despots.  It threatens Islamic extremists.  It threatens tyrants.  It threatens despots that would use their own culture as a means of enslaving their citizens or for their own political gain.

The war that was brought to us on 9/11 was designed for one purpose:  To drag us to the battlefield.

In that, their attack worked.

While we maybe war weary, we know the intentions of the enemy.  They seek global domination.  There are bulwarks that prevent them from achieving this dream.  China and Russia both stand as road blocks to Islamic extremist expansion… but we are a unique problem to the enemy.

The enemy does not worry about the slaves to their doctrine looking to the Russians or the Chinese as an alternative to their political philosophy.

But America is different.

We may not send our military overseas to conquer and claim land… but our culture spreads to every corner of the globe.

The enemies of freedom sought and continue to seek the destruction of our way of life.  If they are successful, the consequences are global.  A world without the philosophy of freedom (whatever that may be to the individual), is a world that emboldens the tyrant.  America is the cradle of that philosophy and we must stay a shining beacon to those that seek to throw off the chains of their oppression.

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