We can not forget.
More importantly, we must understand.
Most of all, we must act.
Five years ago today I was working in Suffolk, Virginia when we received word that an aircraft had struck the WTC. We turned on a TV and I sent out one of my mechanics to buy another TV at WalMart.
The images were at first confusing, what kind of plane? Then the second tower was hit. I knew then that this was another battle in our ongoing war with the Islamo-Fascist Alliance (IFA).
I checked in with my unit. There was no immediate deployment order, yet. Later, most of my personnel were to be divided up and allocated around the world to protect military installations. This proved to be a hollow response as the targets selected by our enemies were unlikely to be hardened, military facilities. They were more likely to be nightclubs, train stations and aircraft. Symbols of commerce, areas of free association and very vulnerable.
Some would claim that this is not really a war, and yet there is significant and mounting evidence that it most certainly is. Although we do not find ourselves pitched directly against nation states, our opponents are as committed to the destruction or subjugation of our society as any enemy in history.
The challenge today is how do we respond? We are not a society which will permit wholesale and indiscriminate retaliation. We value the lives of the innocent above all else.
We also value the freedom and open nature of the Enlightened Free World (EFW). And yet that freedom and openness is used against us at every turn. Sometimes by nation states, sometimes by the transnational organizations who act against us and sometimes by individual actors who simply seek to vent their hate-filled philosophy against a society they despise.
One thing is certain, the citizens of the EFW can not afford to relax their posture against such an insidious threat. Our action must be temepred with justice, compassion and a deadly serious dedication to preserving our freedoms.
The war rages on, the time of its end remains in the future. However, we are the ones who must ensure the certainty of its outcome.