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America’s freedom and resolve was attacked on Sept. 11, 2001

The following editorial appeared in the Sept. 12, 2001 edition of The Vicksburg Post, the day after the terrorist attacks in New York, Washington D.C. and Pennsylvania. On this, the 19th anniversary of those horrible events, we felt it was fitting to again share the words from The Post’s editorial board.

 

While it is not clear whether history correctly attributed the statement to Japanese Admiral Isoruku Yamamoto as his fleet steamed away from Pearl Harbor, it is clear that America has endured, 60 years later, another surprise attack with devastating consequences.

Also clear is that those responsible for Tuesday’s murderous attacks chose their target not as part of a plan for military conquest — but for symbolic purposes.

The twin, 110-story towers of the World Trade Center were the global emblems of free commerce which has led to independence for nations and people worldwide. And the Pentagon is the very heart of America’s defensive network. Precisely as President Bush said as his first statement from Shreveport, La, “Freedom itself was attacked.”

Americans do justifiably wonder what it is about this nation that would give rise to enmity of the level it took to plan and execute the atrocities. But to understand anarchy is to understand madness. Some things defy explanation.

The liberties that this nation were founded on are alien to many people and very unsettling. Genocide is their way of thinking. Death to their enemies is their chant.

The fact that Americans helped rebuild Japan and Europe after World War II instead of installing dictators to exploit them for interests is antithetical to such people. And to some, our ceaseless attempts to act as an arbiter of lasting negotiated peace between warring parties in the Middle East and elsewhere is seen as a weakness or as a threat to their existence.

Many are saying change will come as a result of these, the worst-ever attacks on the American homeland. Some change, doubtless, will occur. But the very fact that we are a free and open nation — something that contributes to our vulnerability — must not change. If it does, then those who perished will have died in vain.

After Pearl Harbor, this “sleeping giant” awoke and acted with unprecedented resolve to protect the institutions and values it believes are liberating for all humanity. It is time to act with such resolve again.

Hate and small-mindedness cannot be allowed to prevail in this new millennium. This nation and its people must continue to value freedom and to exhibit its power.