- - Wednesday, September 12, 2018


President Trump’s vision for replacing the holes in the ground left when the World Trade Center towers fell on Sept. 11, 2001, was to build them back stronger, straight, and one floor taller. His vision of defiance was not to be, and instead one building in place of two stands now as Manhattan’s rebuke and challenge to benighted terrorists with evil ideas.

Only those who didn’t listen to the president’s commemoration of courage and sacrifice on a Pennsylvania bean field could mistake those double fist pumps of American fighting spirit for what his critics called undignified fist clenching of an unpresidential president.

At the place where 40 Americans died when United Airlines Flight 93 crashed 20 minutes short of an intended target in Washington, perhaps the Capitol or perhaps the White House, the president declared that “on this sacred earth, in the field beyond this wall, and in the skies above our heads, we remember the moment when America fought back.”

Seventeen years after the attacks, the native New Yorker gave what was the most emotional speech of a lifetime. To those who say the president was “unempathetic” to the first to respond to the May Day call, know that the president did in fact remember them with gratitude. “Some of you here today answered the call and raced to this field 17 years ago,” he said. “You fill our hearts with pride.”

To those who suggest that the president was “unpresidential” in the presence of families of those who died that day, the families heard the president speak directly to them with humility and rare eloquence. “We close our arms to help you shoulder your pain and to carry your great, great sorrow,” he said. “Your tears are not shed alone, for they are shared grief with an entire nation. We grieve together for every mother and father, sister and brother, son and daughter who was stolen from us at the Twin Towers, the Pentagon, and here on this Pennsylvania field.

Who are these critics with hearts made of quivering pudding who call the president undignified for pumping his fists above the “Sacred Ground,” the site of the crash, with pain tempered by anger. “A piece of America’s heart is buried on these grounds.”

Flight 93 was the only airliner of the four hijacked on Sept. 11, 2001 that did not crash into a building full of innocent people. That’s because “The Forty,” as President Trump calls them, killed the four terrorists who seized the plane on that day and saved the lives of countless others by sacrificing their own. Honoring the sacrifice of “the Forty” is to remember them as the fighting heroes who clenched their fists and fought back.

“We honor their sacrifice,” said the president, not by meekly tip-toeing around what they did, but by imitating their resolve, “by pledging to never flinch in the face of evil, and to do whatever it takes to keep America safe.”

The passengers and crew who boarded that early morning flight from Newark to San Francisco were “young people returning from visiting family, moms and dads on business trips, friends going and coming from birthdays and weddings.

“They boarded the plane as strangers,” the president said, “and they entered eternity linked forever as true heroes.” The field where they died on the day that claimed the deaths of 3,000 other Americans became a monument of American defiance of evil and the evil ideology that drove them to an unspeakable offense to decency and to the God who created them. “This memorial,” the president said, “is now a message to the world. America will never, ever submit to tyranny.”

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