Monday, September 11, 2006

Our Nation Marks Fifth Anniversary of Terror Attacks - Patriot Day

It was a clear, sunny day in Pittsburgh, too. I was sitting in a seven-story office building one mile south of the old Pittsburgh airport. A co-worker noted the first plane hitting the WTC. By the time I check the Internet, it says “two planes.” I’m a news junkie, so I checked out other sites and discovered there was a 4th plane (Flight 93) – and it was missing.

I was not shocked or stunned that day. It was more of a surrealistic dream.

Make no mistake, terrorists want to kill us…all of us. It doesn’t matter if you are a soldier or not. Man or woman. Black or white. Young or old. Conservative or liberal. Republican or Democrat. We are all targets and no amount of wishing will make it go away. No amount of reasoning will make them change their minds. What negotiations can you do with someone whose goal is your death? Perhaps you could offer your land. They still want you dead. You could offer money. They still want you dead. Your only bargaining chip is whether you die next week or next year. Either way, the Islamic terrorists want you dead.

Unfortunately, they are taught from childhood – even in the schools and the mosques – that anyone who is not a fundamentalist Muslim should be put to death. Our only hope in this world is that God opens their hearts to the fact that a life of death is wrong.

It has been five years since that Tuesday, September 11, 2001. Here is a very brief recap:
- At 8:45am, American Airlines Flight 11 crashes into the north tower
- At 9:03am, United Airlines Flight 175 crashes into the south tower
- At 9:40am, American Airlines Flight 77 crashes into the Pentagon
- At 10:05am, the South Tower collapses
- At 10:07am, Flight 93 crashes into a lowly field outside of Shanksville, PA
- At 10:29am, the North Tower collapses

Over 3000 people were killed that day – office workers, firemen, EMTs, mothers, fathers, and children – nearly all of them were civilians.

The September 11th attacks were part of a campaign against the United States by Al-Qaeda. This campaign started when Osama Bin Laden trained forces in Mogodishu, Somalia. He was encouraged by how quickly we retreated when we incurred casualties – the Blackhawk Down incident. He called us a paper tiger. Al-Qaeda also launched attacks the World Trade Center in 1993, on the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia in 1996, on the American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998, and on the USS Cole in Yemen in 2000. They were at war with us throughout the 1990s, but we were not at war with them.

Our country, our military has taken the fight to the enemy. We have freed 50 million of our fellow humans from the crush of brutal dictators. We have been safe here at home. The first American action in the war against Islamofascism was over the skies of our Commonwealth as dozens of Americans gave their lives to protect countless others on the ground. No one knows when the last action will be. Some think retreating from Iraq will end terrorism. Some think that my grandchildren will be fighting this war.

We are to love and pray for our enemies – a difficult task when you hear them talk about how much they can’t wait to kill us…a difficult task when you see them dancing in the street and handing out candy when they use our civilian planes against us and when the space shuttle Columbia disintegrated in our atmosphere.

Christ doesn’t give us much direction for waging war – it wasn’t his specialty. We do know that he waged war against evil on the cross. He won. We also know he didn’t let evil destroy a loved one – Lazarus. We can only do what we think is right. Our nation has never been bloodthirsty. We fight to protect the innocent – our loved ones here at home. We also protect the innocent abroad: all of Europe – twice. northern Africa, the south Pacific, South Korea, South Vietnam, Grenada, Haiti, Kuwait, Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Iraq.

We may be forced to do more – as a lunatic leader of Iran threatens to wipe out certain countries when he acquires nuclear weapons. And we don’t know what other things may pop up in this world. Many would like to think diplomatic solutions are just around the corner – and it’s a great thought. Unfortunately, that thought is based upon the modern view that man is good. As Christians, we know that man is evil by nature. We can only try to be good. Some have made the choice that evil is the only way to live. Some choose violence, terror, death.

I choose life. I choose to pray.

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