Everyone remembers where they were when they first heard about the attacks on the United States 9 years ago. I don't need to reiterate the stories of shock and grief, bewilderment and fear that hit the citizens of this country that day, but they are still exquisitely real and personal to many. My heart goes out to the families and friends of all those lost souls.
It also marked the day that our country became engaged in what we are calling the war on terror. It is such an amorphous war. We are fighting a moving target with no clear geographic home and an ideology which renders all reason and diplomacy virtually impotent.
We must fight it, however, on all fronts, and I don't mean strictly geographic fronts.
One of the most important fronts in the war on terror is in the hearts and minds of ourselves. Terror attacking from external sources is a real threat, and we should exercise our right to defend ourselves from attack and persecution without apology.
Terror attacking from within is equally real, and a far more nefarious threat. Internal fears lead people to irrational behavior - injustice, suspicion, isolation, and the inclination to either strip away the constitutional rights of others or contentedly allow our own rights to be usurped. The result of a successful terror attack from within is the growth of hatred, and THAT is as important to fight as the suicide bombs in a crowded marketplace.
Immediately after the bombings of September 11th, 2001, there was an aftershock of glory in American communities. Everywhere you looked, you found people connecting with each other, rallying together, filled with a sense of strength, stubborn pride, community spirit. It was not a mob of hatred looking for revenge, but a community of noble human beings driven by courage and love to join together, protect each other, survive, and triumph OVER fear. It was a spirit not driven by hatred, but by love of each other and of country.
That is the spirit we need to cultivate within in order to fight the war on terror that is closest to our hearts. Too many people are losing that war and letting terror lead the way from the inside out.