I apologize. They simply aren’t ready to hear the truth yet. Someday, their daddy and I will sit down with them and explain.
Meanwhile, it’s clear we were shortchanged on coverage of this anniversary, given a somewhat sanitized or whitewashed version of it by the standard media. Even here I wrote a tame little ditty about a note in my daughter’s backpack, not very hard-hitting and certainly timid by my own standards. The emotion of the day took over for my brain, I guess.
This week, that’s all settled in and I can’t move on without a little more.
While bold local outlets like the MDJ actually put the burning towers on the front page and memorialized victims, talk of our enemy was nil. Pretty images of the cleansing waterfall, huge American flag and military dress uniforms seemed standard for photographers at Ground Zero. There was also a steady stream of politicians and old balladeers like Paul Simon singing sixties music that, while appropriately emotive and sweet, missed the point of the gathering. Paul Simon was a great icon in the past, but his bridge over troubled water is just a soft target in a 9/12 world.
Locally, our mountain was dressed in red, white and blue. Beautiful, serene, almost like a playground. Many thanks once again to the Kiwanis and all the families who brought their kids to run the gauntlet of 3,000 flags, their innocence as refreshing as that cleansing waterfall.
But what was missing, or intentionally overlooked?
How about the freedom rallies, organized by American patriots unafraid of the truth of the past decade and unconstrained by political correctness? You can find footage and speeches on the Internet, in particular the American Freedom Defense Initiative’s 2nd annual Freedom Rally. It was the unofficial New York ceremony, actually attended by firefighters and police after the wussy mayor banned them from official ground zero.
At this rally a most compelling hero spoke, one of my favorite former Marines, Ilario Pantano. A young veteran of Operation Desert Storm, he’d just opened a business in NYC when we were attacked. He witnessed the destruction that day and saw many friends die, so fighting lots of red tape he got a commission and returned to the Corps as an infantry officer, fighting in Fallujah and more. After a very busy decade, he’s now a candidate for Congress in North Carolina but still sounds more warrior than politician.
“It’s up to us to remember the truth,” he reminded. “There are those working every day to hide the truth of what happened” on 9/11.
“It’s not enough to wave the flag, you need to know the facts. You need to be willing to step outside your comfort zone” and learn about our enemies.
“Do you understand how all these pieces are connected?” he asked, listing various “dots” that have occurred since 9/11, the context of which is ignored by so many in our leadership and media. “Not enough of us know the truth and the realities are being whitewashed. Freedom is a lot like sausage: we like it but don’t really want to know how it’s made.”
Radio host and native New Yorker Joyce Kaufman had this to say:
“You can’t win a war without knowing who your enemy is and your enemy is not a man caused disaster, it is radical Islam.”
“I’m not phobic, I’m a trend analyst. And I’ve been noting for 20 years that almost every act of political murder has been perpetrated by someone claiming to do it in the name of Allah.”
Kaufman also reminded us that on this anniversary, in just one day, 77 American soldiers were injured fighting the Taliban in a hellhole overseas. “We must be vigilant, diligent and not lose faith. The enemy is not a vague idea, but an ideology that oppresses….I’m no longer apologizing for America. We did nothing to provoke the attacks. Evil is real and so is courage.”
The defiance at these rallies is worth noting. The attendees aren’t afraid to face the truth, and understand that each act of jihad that reaches us is a small victory for the people who put their backwards, evil ideology into action.
Just last week, the Christmas Day underwear bomber, a Muslim from Nigeria, screamed repeatedly during jury selection, “Osama is alive,” showing the soles of his shoes to court officers which is an insult in his culture, implying the proceedings and our justice system are beneath him.
When I hear things like that, it makes me so angry I try to think of a cool, clean waterfall. But all I come up with are more reasons to take Pantano’s advice. Understand the fight. Connect the dots.
We’re ten years beyond 9/11, but nowhere near the finish line.