“The 9/11 terror attacks on America changed our country forever.” Wrong. Not even close. “Never forget.” We forgot shortly after September 11th, 2001. The only permanent change is the ever-powerful, and marginally useful, TSA.
We profess to commemorate those who died, and to honor the first responders, with vows of unity and remembrance. Yet in our ever increasing and aggressive disunity, from all parts of the political spectrum, we dishonor them–and ourselves.
That is the subject of today’s 10 minute episode.
Today’s Key Point: Neither those terrorists nor the TSA are the core problem: We are. We’ll get back to this and elaborate, but first let’s look at the history of 9/11.
Everyone, at least everyone over 30, remembers the horror of the 9/11 attacks. President’s Bush’s stirring speech at the site of the destroyed towers. Fresh rows of American flags on homes. For those who don’t remember, we have had days of a virtual media blitz, showing and talking about the attacks. Commemorating the fallen, honoring the first responders.
President George W. Bush gave an impromptu, stirring bullhorn speech at the site of the fallen towers, on September 14th, just three days after the attack, in part promising revenge. “Go get ‘em, George!” came from the crowd. The President was interrupted loudly and often with chants of “USA!” The nation came together–for about a month. There was a frenzy of flag buying, with most of them made in China. Millions of people complained about the wait to get their post 9/11 flags. And fussed about the increased prices. Today, we are back to where only a very few fly the flag. Likely the same ones as before 9/11. And our son, the one who lives nearby in Colorado, felt the need to warn me against changing it out for one with the “Back the Blue” stripe, because it would make his parents a target. And he was right.
I was living in Silicon Valley during the 1989 earthquake, and was at the earthquake interrupted Game 3 of the World Series in Candlestick Park when it hit. That busy, bustling area, including San Francisco, was transformed by destruction and human tragedy. People cared for each other. Were polite on the freeways. Genuinely showed concern. For about three days. Then traffic and human behavior returned to normal. The 9/11 “transformation” lasted a whole month.
We were attacked by 19 Islamist terrorists with box cutters. Box cutters. Only four of the 19 terrorists had any flight training, and then only enough to fly a plane into a fixed target, and then only in good weather. When overheard, their last words were said to have been “Allahu Akbar”, a phrase meaning “God is most great”, used by Muslims in prayers and as a general declaration of faith or thanksgiving.
It takes a sick puppy to be thankful to God for the ability to kill thousands of civilians in a sneak attack. But it should not take much to stop sickos armed with box cutters. TSA spends billions of taxpayer dollars each year checking for metal objects and liquids in excess of 3.4 ounces, including that $3.50 bottle of water you purchased in the airport concourse 15 minutes prior. How good are they at finding real weapons? Let’s hear from Forbes magazine, “Undercover investigators working for the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) managed to sneak fake guns, knives and explosives through checkpoints earlier this year, getting the mock weapons through a depressing 70% of the time. The unclassified summary noted ‘We identified vulnerabilities with TSA’s screener performance, screening equipment, and associated procedures.’”
Back to Today’s Key Point: Neither those terrorists nor the TSA are the core problem: We are. We’ll start with a quote from Abraham Lincoln, a quote that is featured on the Revolution 2.0™ website. “America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we lose our freedoms, it will be because we have destroyed ourselves from within.” That is exactly what we are doing: We are destroying ourselves from within.
Immediately post 9/11, the early signs of disunity began to raise their ugly heads. Claims of the attack being our fault because we were “interfering” in some Muslim countries surfaced, most notably in reference to our resistance to the frequently promised and 3 times attempted elimination of Israel. Can anyone imagine for a moment if voices had been raised claiming that the Pearl Harbor attack was our fault because we had been depriving Japan of war materials, including metals and oil? The same Japan that had been raping and pillaging neighboring countries for at least 5 years before December 7th?
Pause for some definitions: Unity means getting along with people even when we disagree. Disunity means being willing to cancel or be cancelled because of those same disagreements.
The overall source of disunity is the insistence on being right, being quite willing to permanently alienate others in the pursuit of being right. Some specific sources of disunity include vaccinations and masks, Black Lives Matter, CRT, the size and proper role of government, abortions, race and gender issues, views on Donald Trump, and so much more. We are starting new tears in the fabric of our humanity on a regular basis. And we are doing it in the proverbial chip on our shoulder way. As in putting a chip of something or other on our shoulders, then daring another to knock it off. And if they do, it’s on. Yes, it really is as silly and as obvious as that.
Todd Beamer and others on the correctly famous flight 93 got it right when they stood up to the terrorists, forcing them to crash land in Shanksville, PA–not the intended target, likely the US Capitol. Let’s hear from the Wall Street Journal. “A 32-year-old software salesman for Oracle, Beamer was among the passengers on United Airlines Flight 93 who attacked the hijackers and prevented them from crashing the Boeing 757 into the U.S. Capitol. His rallying cry, ‘Let’s roll,’ rests in America’s memory. It is exalting to think of what he and his fellow passengers did on that short flight, and the people they saved on the ground.
“Beamer remained poised under extreme pressure. Many passengers made phone calls during the flight, but Beamer’s call with Airfone operator Lisa Jefferson became the fullest account of what took place in the air that day. He remained on the line for 14 minutes, describing the direction of the plane, the hijackers’ behavior and, eventually, the passengers’ decision to revolt. ‘His voice was devoid of any stress,’ Ms. Jefferson later said. ‘In fact, he sounded so tranquil it made me begin to doubt the authenticity and urgency of his call.’”
We can honor Mr. Beamer, the others on flight 93, those who died on 9/11, first responders and others by creating unity everywhere we go. Are you with me? Let’s roll!
We all have the personal responsibility to love one another and create unity. Speaking of personal responsibility, this principle does not stand alone; the two main and interdependent principles at Revolution 2.0 are:
1. Personal Responsibility; take it, teach it and,
2. Be Your Brother’s Keeper. The answer to the biblical question, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” is a ringing, unequivocal “Yes.” There is no other answer.
Where do you stand? What are you going to do? Remember, it does not matter where you stand if you don’t do anything. You can start by subscribing to these episodes, and encouraging others to subscribe with you.
As always, whatever you do, do it in love. Without love, anything we do is empty. 1 Corinthians 16:1.
As we get ready to wrap up, please do respond in the episodes with comments or questions about this episode or anything that comes to mind, or connect with me on Twitter, @willluden, Facebook, facebook.com/will.luden, and LinkedIn, www.linkedin.com/in/willluden/. And you can subscribe on your favorite device through Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify and wherever you listen to podcasts.
This is Will Luden. We’ll talk again in a few days.