It is sobering to think that most high school kids today have no living memory of the 9/11 attacks. Even if they are seniors this year, those kids were only about 4- or 5-years old — an age when the memories they will keep are few and fleeting.
Every reader of this blog remembers where they were and what they were doing on that terrible morning — a day that started so crisp and happy after a long hot summer on the East Coast, where I was living at the time.
What is important to remember and teach to those children — especially these days, due to the rise of ISIS — is that 9/11 was not a “tragedy.” It was an act of war by barbarians armed with modern technology and determined to strike a blow against what the West had built since the Enlightenment — a society that protects the liberty of an individual human being to live his or her own life in the way they desire.
I had not thought of this before writing this post, but imagine a world in 2001 in which the Cold War was still raging. Imagine a world in which Soviet Communism was on equal global footing with the United States. Would Osama bin Laden have directed his soldiers to fly planes into the Kremlin? The question answers itself.
The aim of al-Qaida — and it’s latest manifestation, ISIS — was and remains subjugation. Legions of increasingly well-armed and sophisticated Islamofascists still consider it a religious mandate to destroy liberty. They will happily and violently sacrifice their lives to force the sons and daughters of the Enlightenment to surrender to their 7th-century version of Islam or die, which they see as the will of Allah. We will be fighting these barbarians for generations. And a long view of history teaches us that the forces of goodness and light do not always prevail.
It matters not your position on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. It matters not your position on whether Gitmo should be closed. It doesn’t even matter whether your political hero is Ron Paul or Barack Obama. What matters is that the West never forgets what it is the enemies of liberty are willing to do to defeat liberty — and that we do everything we can to preserve it. The alternative is too miserable to contemplate.