(By Rockwall High graduate, former U.S Army paratrooper and Congressional candidate Tony Arterburn)
The morning of September 11th 2001 the United States was the last remaining superpower at the height and majesty of her glory. In a matter of hours 19 hijackers who waltzed into the country legally changed forever the soul and direction of our Nation. When reflecting on that day, one can only muster sorrow and rage, at both the perpetrators of the murderous acts and the fascinatingly unlettered and unwise actions of our leaders following cataclysmic terror on our soil. The shock and horror was shot directly into the heart of the American spirit and in the words of the poet Yeats, “All changed, changed utterly: A terrible beauty is born.”
If you were serving in the U.S. military on that day as was this writer, in your heart you knew that all your plans and directions had been rerouted, transformed in unimaginable ways by outside forces that the government you served allowed to live within the walls. It was a day of murder and darkness for our Republic, but there was also bravery and breathtaking displays of courage. Of course how can we forget the heroism and selflessness of those who gave their lives protecting others? From the first responders, firefighters and police to the guide dog named Roselle who safely escorted her owner down 78 flights of stairs and to the home of a friend.
You will always remember where you were when you heard the news and nothing was the same ever since. For those of us who lived through that day and fought the parties responsible it is unlikely we will ever forgive or forget. Christ warned that if you lived by the sword so shall you die by the sword: He never said it was wrong. For the warriors who met this tragedy head on, we are still on the front lines forever vigilant and prepared to defend our fellow brothers and sisters here at home. However, from the standpoint of history with 13 years behind us, 9/11 appears to be the high water mark of American power and has ushered in the Indian summer of our civilization as we know it.
The unleashing of the four horseman of America’s political apocalypse: wars to wage democracy, “free trade,” multiculturalism, and bailing out banks “too big to fail” have set in motion the most stunning decline in a modern power since the sudden collapse of the Soviet Union. Edmund Burke said that “a great empire and little minds go ill together”. Would not any of us not want to live in the America before September 11th 2001? No Patriot Act, no Iraq war, no President Obama, a still large but manageable national debt, a space program, and a political landscape that seems benign compared to today’s endless bickering and rancor.
Channeling a famous line from a commander in Vietnam, it seems that our government’s policy post 9/11 has been to destroy liberty in order to save it.
We as a Nation must ask ourselves, are we more free or less free than we were on September 10, 2001? If your answer is anything other than less free you should reexamine your definition of freedom. How can any of us with a clear conscience say we have done all we can to ensure the survival of freedom and liberty for our children and theirs? If the goal of those 19 murderous thugs was to drag us into the two longest wars in American history, bankrupt our nation with trillions in debt, divide us more than we have been divided since 1860 and put in jeopardy every freedom we as a people hold dear, have they not succeeded?
Trotsky famously opined, “You may not be interested in war, but war is interested in you”. The same is true for politics. Although you may choose to be non-political that doesn’t mean it isn’t infecting every aspect of your life. We are better than we have shown to be over the past 13 years and those who have given their lives so we can have this chance to reflect deserve our attention and re-dedication to the cause of Liberty. Islamic radicals cannot defeat or destroy the United States, only Americans can do that. It is time we direct our outrage at those responsible for the attacks from abroad and our failures at home, those who simultaneously allow our enemies free access to our country and weaken us internally with unwise and unconstitutional policy, namely our political class.
On this most hallowed of days as we pause and ponder, we must never forget, we must never surrender and we must be always and forever vigilant in the face of tyranny both at home and abroad. The lessons of history are there for us to learn if we so choose to heed their guidance and council. Most importantly however, hug your loved ones, call a friend or relative to say how much you care and do something kind for someone around you, and remember that love is the strongest force in the world.
Tony is a former U.S Army paratrooper and Congressional candidate. He is a conservative writer, speaker and entrepreneur. He resides in Rowlett TX with his wife Melissa, son Houston and chocolate lab Layla.