I was home from work that day and decided to turn on CNN for some background noise while working in my home office. I was watching a live report when the second plane hit the towers. I watched it as it flew directly into the building and my first thought was "Oh my God! We are under attack!" I immediately picked up the phone and began calling loved ones who were at work in their respective offices and unaware of the tragedy unfolding in New York City.
I am sure that everyone of you reading this can recall exactly where you were and what you were doing when you first heard about the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York. Of course you can, it was a day that forever changed America and by extension, the world. The memories of the images of September 11, 2001 are as clear to me today as if they occurred yesterday rather than eight years ago and the swelling of pride in our Nation and patriotism that followed those horrific events are easily recalled memories as well. However, it seems that many people in America have forgotten the terrible events of that day and the emotions that accompanied them.
The fear that we would be attacked again very soon, perhaps even the next day, was so strong, you could actually feel it in the air, the concern that was felt for those missing and feared dead in the attacks was overwhelming and the pride in being an American could be seen everywhere you turned. There were lines of willing donors outside every blood donation center, flags proudly displayed on every street corner and most cars, and for a few days in September there were no Democrats or Republicans, liberals or conservatives, blacks or whites, we were all just Americans and we were grieving together. Then psychologists told news networks that it was best not to broadcast those images of the attacks anymore and everything started to return to normal and we began retreating to our separate corners. And that is where we have remained for over eight years.
What is the reason behind this trip down memory lane? Because, sometimes it is necessary to take a step back and remember the path that we have traveled and survey the landscape that lies ahead of us as a nation in order to maintain a healthy perspective on the current situation. Currently, we are engaged in two wars in two countries, both of which are Muslim nations. This has led to increased diplomatic difficulties in the region between the United States and other Muslim nations such as Syria, Lebanon and Iran. In addition, it has been suggested that all three of these nations have been aiding the insurgency in Iraq and Afghanistan by supplying weapons and men to fight. President Bush spent seven years doing everything he could to ensure that our troops had the necessary tools for waging a successful war and that we were not attacked by terrorists again here at home. Although, he and his team made some mistakes in the wars, we have not been attacked again and the policies put in place by his administration and the tireless efforts and dedication of those charged with our security have been successful in their protection of the home front.
Now, Obama and his team want to dismantle so much of what the Bush administration put into place simply because it was President Bush's handiwork. Obama made many promises on the campaign trail about these issues, such as vowing to close Guantanamo Bay, ending "torture" of detainees and restoring America's positive image throughout the world. He began working on fulfilling these promises as soon as he took office, but soon found that it was much more difficult than he originally thought.
He has encountered great difficulty with keeping his promise to close Gitmo by January 2010 because he does not have anywhere to send these prisoners that are currently housed there. Other countries do not want them, they are suspected TERRORISTS! There is not room for them in American prisons, so he is not sure what to do with them. Now, the White House is saying he needs more time.
He did sign an executive order to end "torture" of detainees, but was not planning on former Vice President Dick Cheney to be so outspoken in his defense of the Bush administration's techniques of interrogation or the CIA memos that detail the success of water boarding Khalid Sheik Mohamed. This has led many Americans to question the intelligence of releasing details of our interrogation techniques and the benefit of ceasing to use them.
Obama has been criss-crossing the world on an "apology tour" since taking office in January and has done all in his power to improve the image of America overseas; but has he been successful? Although he has been welcomed with open arms by the people of other nations, he has not achieved any real results. Russia still refuses to join with us in using sanctions on Iran to compel them to end their nuclear pursuit, Great Britain is our greatest ally, and they are sending more troops to assist us in Afghanistan, but only 500 more. Germany and France are there as well, but will not permit their soldiers to fight, only to engage in support activities. The Olympic Committee did not award the 2016 Summer Olympics to Chicago even though President Obama and Michelle both appeared in front of the Committee in Copenhagen. In fact, Chicago was the first city eliminated from the voting. North Korea continues to defy the international community in spite of President Obama reaching out to them and sending President Clinton as an ambassador to free two imprisoned American journalists. Obama may be seen as a "rock star" worldwide, but his Presidential power has yet to yield any tangible fruit.
Perhaps, we need to remember as a nation the day after September 11th, the day we all wondered when it was going to happen again and where. The time when our nation's leaders were frantically brainstorming the necessary actions to take in order to ensure our security and retaliate against those who dared to attack Americans on American soil. Those people are still out there, scheming, planning, training in the mountains of Afghanistan and Pakistan, the deserts of Iran and Syria and Lebanon and most likely, some secluded places in our own country. We must be ever watchful and remain vigilant in order to maintain our security. President Obama and the members of his administration's National Security team and members of Congress need to take a moment and reflect on where we were eight years ago and the path we have yet to travel before taking actions that will compromise our security and open the door once again to terrorists and their deadly attacks.