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This I Believe

On September 14, 2011

I believe in American Might

Honestly, when 9/11 happened I did not fully comprehend the implications of what

had happened. Honestly, I still don't really know. I never had any relatives or friends in

the two World Trade Centers when they fell. And honestly, I still don't know what the

best course of action was after 9/11, and honestly I still don't know what course of action

we should pursue today.

But here's what I do know: I know I live in the greatest country in the world. Our

country displayed resiliency then, and we display resiliency now. 9/11 tested the might of

the greatest experiment in democracy in the history of the world. It was the first time the

contiguous United States of America had been attacked on a major scale since the War

of 1812. Our response, regardless of any assessment of it, was decisive and unified.

Today, we as Americans fight on. The effects of the terrible tragedy still linger. Our

economy is still in flux. We still have soldiers overseas and the structure on the site of the

two fallen towers is still under construction. Even with so many lives lost and incredible

symbols destroyed, we, as Americans, get stronger every day through shared experience

and a commitment to getting better.

What the terrorists do not know, and will never understand, is American might.

We've been on cloud nine in the 1920s, only to be hit hard by the Great Depression.

We've experienced great peace, and we've been shellshocked in Pearl Harbor. But each

and every time in the face of adversity, we forge ahead. We may quibble over entitlements

and taxes in Washington, D.C., but in the end we always find a way to emerge

intact and true to principle.

I believe the terrorists will never win because they cannot fathom our inextinguishable

motivation. I believe regardless of who occupies the Oval Office, America will continue

to be the greatest experiment in democracy. I believe I love this country because it

truly is the best nation ever to exist on earth.

Mike Hills

Op-Ed Editor

I believe we are united

We all remember the moment we discovered that the tragedy had occurred. We are

filled with sorrow when we see videos of the buildings burning and falling to Ground

Zero. Our hearts tremble when see the horrified faces of the New York citizens. The

crying mothers, fathers, sons, daughters and families at the funerals of their loved ones

reach deep into us, tugging at our very souls.

That pull, that inundation of emotion within us as we remember a day when so many

humans died, connects us and fuses a community of shared experience. We are often

told that this country united after the attacks, but it is often neglected to say in what we

were united. Some may say that it was in the hatred for those who caused those deaths,

but this I do not believe. Some may say it was in the camaraderie of countrymen in facing

a common enemy, but this I do not believe. Some may say that it was a reaction to

a personal attack on our way of life, but this I do not believe. If we allow ourselves to

believe we were united in hatred, opposition, vengeance or even defense, we degrade the

true reality of our unity. This I believe: we, the people of the United States, were united in experiencing the honor, courage and outright humanity of those who reacted and responded to the attacks on September 11, 2001. I saw men and women rushing into dust, falling metal and fire to save utter strangers. I saw neighbors support one another in sorrow and in mourning. I saw an American people, often distracted by the business of life, stop and reach out to one another in love and compassion. We will forget the anger, hatred and vengeance, but we will never forget the raw human compassion we

discovered we were capable of that day.

Ryan LaValley

Columnist

 

I believe it is not over

I was sitting on my couch on a Thursday morning watching cartoons because I was

home sick from school. I was anxiously waiting for my mom to come home because she

was bringing me a milkshake for my sore throat. Much to my surprise my mom did not

walk in the door and come to the couch with a milkshake in her hand and say "How are

you feeling, Honey?" Instead my mom rushed through the door and ran straight to the TV,

changing the channel from cartoons to the local news station. On the screen I could see

a large tower with smoke billowing out of it. As I sat there and watched the news reports

come through, my mother stood in the middle of the room with her hand over her mouth

and her eyes wide in shock. I was too young to show much emotion other than anger, but

I understood that this day was much like December 7, 1941: soon our nation would be

going to war.

The first few days after 9/11 were the worst for my family. My father, who was an

FBI Agent at the time, was in Quantico, Va.—ironically for counter terrorism training.

Transportation was chaotic: He was unable to find a ride to New York or to the Pentagon

so that he could help with rescue efforts and he couldn't find a ride home to be with the

family. My family didn't hear from my brother, who is in the Navy, for three days because

he was on a submarine off the coast of San Diego. We feared that there would be a second

attack, this time on U.S. military personnel. When we finally heard from him he told us that

the base he was on, along with all other U.S. bases around the world, had been put on lock

down. The worst feeling for me in the aftermath of 9/11 was not knowing—not knowing

who was to blame, not knowing where my brother was, not knowing how to help and not

knowing what was going to happen in the future.

Today, at the 10th anniversary of that unbelievably horrifying day, our country is at

a fork in the road that has the nation divided. In one direction we can end the War on

Terrorism. We can leave Iraq and Afghanistan and bring our troops home. In the other

direction, we can stay and fight. We can continue to put the lives of our nation's young men and

women in harm's way and continue the War on Terrorism. I cannot speak for the nation or for the

U.S. military. I can only speak for myself. If we do not continue in our endeavor to bring those who

have attacked and threatened our country to justice, if we give up and bring our troops home, if we

turn our backs to such a dangerous and radical enemy, I fear that my future children will be fighting

the same war that we were too tired to finish. Again, the worst feeling I have is not knowing…

James E. Boyd

Battalion Commander

Xavier University

Army ROTC


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