September 11 – seven years ago and now

In less than 9 hours America will be observing the 7th anniversary of 9/11. The attacks that day were the worst in American history, and many of us can still recall where we were as the planes hit the Pentagon and the Twin Towers.

Politicians have used 9/11 as a weapon and shield since that day. Some have used it to create political influence. Others have used it to increase the power of aspects of the Government. And still others have used it to express their own fears and dislike of laws and Government. All are fair to an extent, and virtually all are wrong to use this despicable act for their self-interest.

Tomorrow, both Presidential candidates will inevitably use the day to promote some aspect of their Presidential campaigns.

On September 11, 2001 I was at my brokerage office in midtown Manhattan. I saw live television as the 2nd plane struck, and watched the Towers fall. I was among the millions that feared for their lives, and those of loved ones and friends on that day. I walked among the millions that were stunned and dazed on the streets of Manhattan. I had several colleagues and friends that were hurt, killed, or otherwise immediately impacted by the Towers that day.

In the wake of this horrific act of fanatical religious rage, I was sure that New York City would be struck again by the mindless uncaring evil that terrorism is within days if not months. Considering that London, Paris, Tel Aviv, Tokyo, and most any other major city across the world has to deal with this kind of insanity on a repeated basis such a thought was not (and is not) unreasonable.

To date we have not seen another attack on U.S. soil. We have seen several individuals enter the nation from the Canadian border with the intent to harm innocent civilians. They all have been intercepted without their plans being enacted. None have ever been identified coming from the Mexican border.

Today we hear some act as if America can never again be touched. They believe that America need not protect itself. They believe that vigilance is unwarranted, and pro-active steps for protection useless or provocative. I find such thoughts naïve and potentially deadly.

Today we also hear some that seek to restrict ever more freedoms under an umbrella of protection from a never ending war on fanatical ideas. They would strike at any foreign thought or belief. They would dominate for fear of any weakness becoming a new point of attack. They would give up individuality for the comfort of safety.

Both of these extremes of thought are wrong. They are extreme views that fail to see the reality of the world, which lies far closer to the center than where they stand.

The reality is that at some point America will be struck again. No nation is immune or impenetrable. Fanatics have no time limits, nor can they be negotiated or bribed from their views. Their ideals cannot be killed, or corrupted, or beaten by force. The best any nation can do is to hold back the beast for a time and minimize its effectiveness.

Every year, every day that America goes without an attack on our population is only one day. And one day, hopefully far far in the future, we will have to start the clock over and count up again. I don‘t say this to be a sensationalist, or to be a fear monger. Its reality, and straightforward. And I pray that when that day comes it is minimized to the least extent possible.

To those that think America can just hide in our nation and the world will leave us alone I say wake up. For those that think that mere force will eliminate any potential threat I say calm down and think. America is always a target of fanatics because we are free, rich, and powerful all at once. And you cannot kill an idea (especially when that idea is a religion – no matter how twisted that idea is made to be).

I suppose I don’t have a direct point of this post. I’m not trying to make a conclusion, or place blame. Neither benefits the nation. Rather I am reflecting on a moment that struck me to my core. A day that will never leave me in a way that many in the nation never will feel, I hope.

Over the next hour, and through the next day I want my readers to reflect on a few thoughts. We have a great nation, flaws and all. We can believe in whatever God we wish, or none at all if we chose. We can voice our thoughts even if others disagree. We can travel as we chose, even if it costs more or takes longer than we like. We can live where we please, work as we are capable, and earn most of what we are worth.

Millions serve our nation everyday. They protect us, and defend us from laws, individuals and nations that can cause us harm. The service is born of a desire for the nation to always improve and become greater for our children than what we have lived. At times that service is flawed due to imperfect decisions or temporary political desire; flawed in how the execution is made not in the service provided. And we should honor that service.

9/11 is a remembrance that we all serve our nation in our own way. That our nation is great, filled with great people. That when we act the sum of our actions tend to be the right one. And that every American life is as important as our own.

Perhaps I’m rambling, but sometimes that’s just what we need. No point, no decisive goal to achieve. Just thoughts based on an act of evil, 7 years ago.

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