9/11 belongs to us
Back in 2009, President Barack Obama tried to appropriate 9/11 as a “national day of service.” The effort plods along to this day, resulting in this year’s detailed list of official White House instructions for how 9/11 should be observed. Among them are orders to “minimize references to al-Qaeda,” on the grounds they have become “increasingly irrelevant” ever since their leader, Osama bin Laden, died from an acute case of Navy SEAL.
“I call upon all Americans to join in service and honor the lives we lost, the heroes who responded in our hour of need, and the brave men and women in uniform who continue to protect our country at home and abroad,” read the President’s proclamation. “Working together, we can usher in a new era in which volunteering and more service is a way of life for all Americans. Deriving strength from tragedy, we can write the next great chapter in our Nation’s history and ensure that future generations continue to enjoy the promise of America.”
The Americans who died on September 11, 2001, were not engaged in “volunteering and service.” They had jobs. His attempt to turn 9/11 into another day to worship the government is not just an innocent mistake. It completely subverts the meaning of that terrible day.
Many of the passengers aboard those jets were businesspeople. The planes were commercial airliners, piloted and crewed by people who had just punched into work for the day. When the terrorist animals pulled out their box cutters, they lunged at flight attendants who were trying to get through one more shift of a demanding job.
Todd Beamer, who delivered America’s battle cry for the War on Terror, was an account executive for Oracle. Those who rose with him to defeat al-Qaeda aboard United 93 were ordinary people on their way to visit families or take care of business. Their actions made them war heroes, not community service volunteers.
The buildings torn out of the New York skyline were known as the World Trade Center. They were attacked precisely because of their prominent role in commerce, and the Western affluence they represented. The towers were filled with thousands of working people. It was just another weekday for them, until they found themselves racing down smoke-filled stairwells, or falling thousands of feet past flaming wreckage. Some of the people who got out ran back into the collapsing buildings to rescue others… and never came out again. They were not “volunteering for community service.”
The Pentagon was likewise staffed by professionals, not community activists. The fighting Americans who took the battle to the enemy – from Afghanistan and Iraq, to bin Laden’s ugly den in Pakistan – were professional soldiers, who dedicated great portions of their lives to training and deployment. Their salaries, and the weapons they wield with such courage and skill, are furnished through taxes paid by working men and women. It is our industry that provided the tools for their gallantry.
A military that can operate within highly restrictive rules of engagement, with limited manpower, to complete objectives with minimal collateral damage, is an expensive proposition. The quality of troops and technology required are beyond the reach of basket-case collectivist economies. Our veterans honor us by accepting a difficult and dangerous job with horrible hours and terrifying work environments. It is in no way comparable to Obama’s notion of “volunteering and service,” not even at a symbolic level.
The valiant first responders who charged into the flaming hell of al-Qaeda’s murderous atrocity were also highly skilled and dedicated professionals. Their fearful trade is not something to be mastered through a couple of days of “community service” every now and then. Their equipment and training are an expression of American economic strength… and thank God we can afford them.
Tuesday, we will solemnly observe the eleventh anniversary of a day that belongs to all of America, not just politicians and community activists. The reasons for the attack, and the power of our response, have nothing to do with the weak and inadequate philosophy behind President Obama’s attempt to transform the day into a celebration of socialism.
Do you really want to help “write the next great chapter in our Nation’s history and ensure that future generations continue to enjoy the promise of America?” Do you want to commemorate those who died, and help your nation prepare its defense against the next brutal attack? Then do your job, and do it well. That’s what everyone was doing on the morning of September 11, 2001, in the moments before we found ourselves at war.