- The Washington Times - Saturday, September 15, 2001

Americans reflect on day of attack

Tuesday will long remain in my memory as one of the darkest days of my life. At a few minutes before 9 a.m., our entire world changed forever. As the realization slowly began to sink in that the world was not the safe place our mothers and fathers told us it would be, I was evacuated from my building in Washington and joined the tens of thousands of worried and frantic workers trying to return home to their loved ones. This was truly no small task in a city clogged with police sirens, warnings of potential additional attacks and billows of smoke emanating from the Pentagon.

The immediate reaction in Washington was one of total disbelief. In reality, the magnitude of the brutal attacks did not fully resonate with me until later in the afternoon when I visited the Pentagon. Joining with over 100 others, I witnessed a sight that I never thought possible: a huge, gaping, burning hole in the side of America's military nerve center. The loss of life was devastating. However, the building will be rebuilt, America will continue, and Americans will strengthen their resolve. Of this, I have no doubt.

As the coming weeks bring the inevitably painful funerals and as the lists of those we have lost become known, I hope that Americans will not soon forget what happened on Sept. 11, nor those who gave their very lives in the name of our freedom.

I hope that history shall prove Longfellow's words true:


Were a star quenched on high,

For ages would its light,

Still traveling downward from the sky,

Shine on our mortal sight.


So when a great man dies,

For years beyond our ken,

The light he leaves behind him

lies upon the paths of men.


Long after the last fires are extinguished and the final heroes laid to rest, I am confident that this day will forever hold a special place in our hearts, lighting the way for freedom across the world. This is the charge left to us to complete.


DALLAS LAWRENCE

Washington




As a former military planner, I've experienced first-hand the temptation to respond to terrorist acts with overwhelming military might. Unfortunately, that course of action resolves little.

To defeat the adversary who attacked us Tuesday, whether it is a state or a nonstate actor, we must first understand how he thinks. We will not prevail using B-52s, cruise missiles or ICBMs. Indeed, that type of response often stiffens a guerrilla's resolve (as in Vietnam, Afghanistan and Chechnya). No, to destroy this monster we must get inside his lair, eat with him, befriend him and cut his throat — then move to the next target. You see, the only fear he possesses is the one that arises when he cannot control the battlefield — when his adversary is as unpredictable as he is. We must force him to be always looking over his shoulder and put him on the run for a very long time.

America, this battlefield is not the place for big tanks, large navies or fast airplanes. It's a place for stealth and decisive precision. And we must act soon, while the president has the support of the American people.


KEITH A. HUTCHESON

Orlean, Va.




I would like your readers to know that everyone on this side of the Atlantic is with you in these dreadful days. We will support you.


JOHN MCLENNAN

Berkshire, England




The Barbary States harbored the terrorists of the early 19th Century — pirates. President Thomas Jefferson took unilateral action against these rogue outfits by sending in the Marines. The same should be done with any countries that harbor terrorists today.


CHRISTOPHER HALE

Arlington




To all reporters in search of a country on which to declare war — Nazism was not a country. The evil of Nazism was embodied in the minds of only some Germans. We went to war against the evil that was embodied in those persons attacking civilization. Islamic fundamentalism is an evil — the last great persecution of freedom. The rise of Islamic fundamentalism has started the last great religious war. This war will unite civilized men and woman of every faith, race, religious practice and nationality against blind hate.

Hate has a home — it dwells in the hearts of evil men. Evil men have homes — they dwell in the hearts of evil countries. Evil countries have locations — check your map. And, yes, in the name of all that is holy in every faith, evil countries can be bombed off the face of the Earth. And to those in the press who may say otherwise, your political correctness became old fashioned on Sept. 11.


JOHN D. KRISTOFF

Washington




I am a student at a high school outside of Toronto, and I wish to express our sympathy for attacks in Washington and New York. Tuesday morning, when we heard the news that the World Trade Center had been attacked, we rushed out to the library to watch CNN. We watched the news unfold in total shock and terror; we were in tears. When we heard that the Pentagon had been attacked, there wasn't anyone who wasn't crying or shaking. Even to us, the Pentagon in a symbol of security, freedom and power. We all said prayers as we watched the buildings collapse. On Wednesday morning, after we sang the Canadian Anthem, the senior students and teachers went on to sing the Star Spangled Banner in honor of those who lost their lives. Every heart in Canada is with you and mourns with you. We are angry, terrified and shocked. We, too, want the inhuman criminals responsible brought to justice.

God bless America. You will prevail.


LEAH BRIDLE

Burlington, Ontario




I am a 31-year-old mother of three from Mount Isa in Australia. We just happened to be watching TV at 11 p.m. Australian time when the news broke; we were up all night watching in complete horror, no doubt with the rest of the world.

I am writing to say that people in Australia are absolutely horrified by what has happened and that everyone I know has cried, prayed and sat speechless in stunned horror. Our television stations have had nonstop news exclusively about the attack for the past two days with no commercial breaks or any other news.

For two days now I have cried, and I have not slept or eaten. Every time I close my eyes I see the images that have been shown on TV over and over.

America, please know that you are not alone. We are with you in our hearts, our souls, our prayers and our tears.


TRACIE MORGAN

Mount Isa, Queensland




On the same day that terrorists attacked America, killing and injuring thousands of innocent citizens, a "coalition" of privacy rights advocates expressed concern that illegal drug users and traffickers might be unfairly detected by federal surveillance tactics. ("Coalition watches war on drugs for rights violations," Sept. 11)

Terrorists, and the drug traffickers who provide much of their financial support, have been enormously assisted in their assault on America by the modern inordinate stress of "privacy rights" — as led by the ACLU — which facilitates the concealment of their murderous acts.

However, America possesses the ultra-high technology to enable our law enforcement and military personnel to monitor, detect and prevent such high levels of terrorism and drug trafficking as are currently destroying our citizens. But it will require a major recommitment to the citizens' safety over concern for the criminals' privacy rights to once again restore the levels of safety and peace America used to know. Perhaps as a result of Tuesday's horrific tragedy, the rules on "privacy rights" will soon be changed back to allow America once again to protect our citizens from terrorist attacks and to protect our children from drug traffickers.


DEFOREST RATHBONE

Chairman

National Institute of Citizen Anti-drug Policy (NICAP)

Great Falls, Va.


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