Every September 11th the images come back and even this morning, it is difficult selecting the proper image. While tempted to select an image of the new Freedom Tower to show our resilience, the anxiety, horror, fear and darkness of that day must be remembered. It is important to keep the perspective provided by the gruesome images. Some of those images are physical and some are memories in my mind – of people jumping from the towers in one last desperate attempt to exercise some control over their fate and escape the heat and gasses.
On September 11, 2001, myself and about a half-dozen other people from FEMA were flown back to Andrews Air Force Base aboard a C130 Refueler accompanied by F16 fighters. Upon landing at Andrews and seeing desert Suitland Parkway and the smoke rising from the Pentagon in the distance, I knew the country had changed. How little did I understand just how much it would change over the next decade.
Why is it important to remember September 11th?
Since that day we have changed as a nation in ways that I never thought I would see in my lifetime.
We now live in an ever-growing police state. While some of the threats to our liberty existed long before 9/11, some have grown exponentially since that fateful day. And most of the limitations on our liberty and freedom are self-imposed.
We have a Transportation Security Administration that makes a mockery of security while blatantly ignoring Constitutional limits on searches an seizures, let alone criminal activity such as assault and battery.
Police departments now report every significant incident with a preface of whether there is a terrorism nexus.
Homeland Security has grown and grown, with its components becoming less and less effective.
We’re told that if we see something suspicious, say something. We’re being taught that anything out of the ordinary is suspicious. But what is normal any more?
Photography of the most innocent kind is often seen as a potential terrorist threat.
The Patriot Act grows through court decisions, regulations and bureaucratic interpretations.
The idea that we’d rather be safe than dead becomes the norm.
A Congressman on television today summed it up well: being frustrated is better than being dead.
Have the terrorists won? Have they simply accelerated our decline into something other than a Constitutional republic with a limited national government of enumerate powers? Would we really rather live in security than in freedom? Have we lost our ancestral heritage of sacrificing for the support of our Declaration of Independence, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, mutually pledging to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor?
Or would we rather just be secure and safe?