Friday, September 10, 2004

September 11, 2004 (9/11)

I will not be home on September 11 and will not have access to a computer. So, I wanted to get my rememberence posted and to remind my readers (most do not need it, but, if there are some that do, let them come here) that we are at war. Regardless of the world's opinion, regardless of the strategic significance of Iraq, regardless of the economic recovery, we are at war with men who would see the demise of the United States and the enslavement of free men and women everywhere.

I have put together some thoughts on 9/11 in the inner sanctum

I also wanted to tell people about some heroes that have given their all on that day and many after that. One such hero was named Rick Rescorla. You may or may not know his name, but he was one of the civilians in the south tower of the World Trade Center who gave his life in order to save thousands. Please read his story:

The Real Heroes Are Dead

The title of this piece, "The Real Heroes Are Dead", is a quote from Rick Rescorla concerning his stent in Vietnam. He was highly decorated and was one of the soldiers depicted in the non-fiction book, "We Were Soldiers Once and Young", based on their experience in the Ia Drang Valley. A movie titled after the book and starring Mel Gibson was released in 2001. On the cover of the book, the picture is actually one of Rick Rescorla as a young lieutenant in the United States Army, 7th Cavalry, 1st Division which serves proudly in Iraq today.

His story is the story of a true hero. When he was later interviewed regarding the book, he was quoted as saying about his tenure in Vietnam and his many decorations, "The Real Heroes Are Dead". This seems like the most prescient statement ever made by one man who would later give his life for those he served.

Another interesting fact about Rick Rescorla and 9/11, on that day, while attempting calm people and usher them from the building, he began singing a 19th century song popular with the British military at that time and later immortalized in the 1964 movie, Zulu in which a outnumbered British soldiers do battle with Zulu warriors at Roarkes Drift:

Men of Cornwall stop your dreaming;
Can't you see their spearpoints gleaming?
See their warriors' pennants streaming
To this battlefield.
Men of Cornwall stand ye steady;
It cannot be ever said ye
for the battle were not ready;
Stand and never yield!

He was just one of many, but a true representation of American spirit.

Many more gave their lives on that day.

"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."

Firemen and rescue workers went up the stairs as people came down. Workers of the Pentagon ran into the building, braving fire and debris, to pull their co-workers from the wreckage. People from all walks of life and religion came and helped their fellow citizens.

All gave some, some gave all

Bravest Memorial:List of 346 Fire and Rescue workers that parished that day

And on that day, I was them and they were me

And these were the first heroes on that fateful day. Fight 93 passengers were the first to take the battle to the enemy.

They kept going, searching for survivors, pulling people from the wreckage and, finally, just putting out the fires

They came from everywhere, with their own tools and their hard hats. They didn't need a phone call, they knew what must be done

Some were left behind.

And we continue to mourn

Here we honor those who died while serving their country in the global war on terror

September 11, 2004: The Dance

Why We Fight

And the President spoke to congress, September 20, 2001:

"...Tonight, we are a country awakened to danger and called to defend freedom. Our grief has turned to anger and anger to resolution. Whether we bring our enemies to justice or bring justice to our enemies, justice will be done.

(...)On September the 11th, enemies of freedom committed an act of war against our country. Americans have known wars, but for the past 136 years they have been wars on foreign soil, except for one Sunday in 1941. Americans have known the casualties of war, but not at the center of a great city on a peaceful morning. Americans have known surprise attacks, but never before on thousands of civilians. All of this was brought upon us in a single day, and night fell on a different world, a world where freedom itself is under attack.

Americans have many questions tonight. Americans are asking, ``Who attacked our country?'' The evidence we have gathered all points to a collection of loosely affiliated terrorist organizations known as al Qaeda. They are some of the murderers indicted for bombing American embassies in Tanzania and Kenya and responsible for bombing the USS Cole.

And tonight the United States of America makes the following demands on the Taliban. Deliver to United States authorities all of the leaders of Al Quaeda who hide in your land. Release all foreign nationals, including American citizens you have unjustly imprisoned. Protect foreign journalists, diplomats and aid workers in your country. Close immediately and permanently every terrorist training camp in Afghanistan. And hand over every terrorist and every person and their support structure to appropriate authorities. Give the United States full access to terrorist training camps, so we can make sure they are no longer operating. These demands are not open to negotiation or discussion. The Taliban must act and act immediately. They will hand over the terrorists or they will share in their fate.

(...)Our war on terror begins with Al Qaeda, but it does not end there. It will not end until every terrorist group of global reach has been found, stopped and defeated.

These terrorists kill not merely to end lives, but to disrupt and end a way of life. With every atrocity, they hope that America grows fearful, retreating from the world and forsaking our friends. They stand against us because we stand in their way.

We're not deceived by their pretenses to piety. We have seen their kind before. They're the heirs of all the murderous ideologies of the 20th century. By sacrificing human life to serve their radical visions, by abandoning every value except the will to power, they follow in the path of fascism, Nazism and totalitarianism. And they will follow that path all the way to where it ends in history's unmarked grave of discarded lies.

(...)Americans are asking, "How will we fight and win this war?'' We will direct every resource at our command--every means of diplomacy, every tool of intelligence, every instrument of law enforcement, every financial influence, and every necessary weapon of war--to the destruction and to the defeat of the global terror network.

(...)We will starve terrorists of funding, turn them one against another, drive them from place to place until there is no refuge or no rest. And we will pursue nations that provide aid or safe haven to terrorism. Every nation in every region now has a decision to make: Either you are with us or you are with the terrorists. From this day forward, any nation that continues to harbor or support terrorism will be regarded by the United States as a hostile regime.

(...)And finally, please continue praying for the victims of terror and their families, for those in uniform and for our great country. Prayer has comforted us in sorrow and will help strengthen us for the journey ahead.

Tonight I thank my fellow Americans for what you have already done and for what you will do.

(...)After all that has just passed, all the lives taken and all the possibilities and hopes that died with them, it is natural to wonder if America's future is one of fear. Some speak of an age of terror. I know there are struggles ahead and dangers to face. But this country will define our times, not be defined by them. As long as the United States of America is determined and strong, this will not be an age of terror. This will be an age of liberty here and across the world.

Great harm has been done to us. We have suffered great loss. And in our grief and anger we have found our mission and our moment. Freedom and fear are at war. The advance of human freedom, the great achievement of our time and the great hope of every time, now depends on us. Our nation, this generation, will lift the dark threat of violence from our people and our future. We will rally the world to this cause by our efforts, by our courage. We will not tire, we will not falter and we will not fail.

(...)I will not forget the wound to our country and those who inflicted it. I will not yield, I will not rest, I will not relent in waging this struggle for freedom and security for the American people.

The course of this conflict is not known, yet its outcome is certain. Freedom and fear, justice and cruelty have always been at war, and we know that God is not neutral between them.

Fellow citizens, we'll meet violence with patient justice, assured of the rightness of our cause and confident of the victories to come. In all that lies before us, may God grant us wisdom and may he watch over the United States of America. "

Some have forgotten, but I never will.


ALa said...

Kat: I was hoping that everyone would post their memories...I remeber the next day talking to my Dad (a Lt. in Philly) and finding out that he had been one of the first to put his name on the list to go to NY --I remember feeling so fragile...I couldn't take one more thing -but I was proud too. Proud of him, proud of NY and proud of America (I had never had that physical rush of pride and patriotism before).
I too will NEVER forget!

Tammi said...

Beautifully done Kat. Just beautiful.

Robert said...

I didn't plan on writing today, but I came home today and just wrote.

Good summary. I love the Rick Rescorla story. You could see the end coming from a mile away. You read it and think "No! Maybe it will turn out OK. Maybe there will be a happy ending."

You know, of course, that that cannot happen.

I think we all watch things, read things and we know the outcome. Yet we still follow it through to the end- to the last page, to the last minute of the TV special. Maybe, just maybe it will turn out different. Can't we wish? Can't we hope?

Truly, truly the real heroes are dead.