Reflecting on September 11th
It was a clear, beautiful Tuesday morning in September. The stifling East Coast summer humidity had given way to a brilliant blue cloudless sky. The day forever changed America as 19 al Qaeda terrorists hijacked four planes. Two crashed into the World Trade Center and another into the Pentagon. 9/11 is remembered with both a solemn reverence for the lives lost and with gratitude for the many acts of bravery. First responders rushed into burning buildings; and passengers aboard Flight 93, with the battle cry "Let's Roll," fought back, ultimately forcing a crash in a Shanksville, Pennsylvania field. The collapse of the Twin Towers claimed nearly 3,000 lives, marking the most devastating attack on American soil since Pearl Harbor in 1941.
In the aftermath of September 11th, our nation embarked on a complex and challenging journey—a journey marked by two decades of war and sacrifice. The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq became defining chapters in our history, testing the resolve of our military, the resilience of our citizens, and the wisdom of our leaders.
As we look back on these tumultuous years, we recognize that our path was fraught with complexities and sacrifices. We also remember that these conflicts were born out of a desire to protect our national security and prevent future 9/11s. We grappled with the heavy toll of war, both in terms of lives lost and the moral dilemmas it posed. We questioned our strategies and the human cost of our decisions. This period was marked by a constant evolution of our understanding of the world and the threats we faced.
In these years since September 11, we have learned valuable lessons about the world, about ourselves, and about the nature of the threats to our national security. We learned that the fight against terrorism is not confined to traditional battlefields; it extends to the digital realm, to ideological battles, and to global alliances. We learned that strength is not solely measured by military might but also by our resilience, adaptability, and capacity for diplomacy. We learned that our commitment to our values is a fundamental part of our national security. Our ability to stand firm against terrorism is intrinsically linked to our ability to uphold liberty, justice, and the rule of law for all. As we navigated the complexities of the past two decades, Truman has upheld the belief that our strength as a nation lies not only in our military prowess but also in the principles we uphold and the alliances we build.
On this solemn anniversary, we embrace a future shaped by these lessons and guided by our values. We must also be brave enough to allow consideration of our mistakes and how we can do better. We can honor those who lost their lives on September 11th by forging an approach to national security that is strong, honest, and rooted in our core principles.