September 11, 2008

I live in a somewhat remote area of Pennsylvania. Close to Philadelphia, but far enough away from the noise and dust and dirt (and did I mention the noise?) to make me happy. I can walk a quarter mile away from my home and see Pennsylvania almost exactly as William Penn saw it more than 300 years ago. Not a house in sight, nothing but trees and mountains and the fertile soil that helps to feed the citizens of this country.

The one thing that is different from 300 years ago is the passenger jets, flying their standard route from Pittsburgh or Ontario or points to the north, passing 20,000 feet overhead with a clockwork precision of distance between them. Flying a proscribed route from northwest to southeast, slowly descending as they move toward the Philadelphia/Baltimore/Washington corridor. I like to walk into the middle of the field after the sun has just set and watch the airline lights slowly, silently appear to the northwest, one after the other, hum as they pass overhead, then disappear to the south. As the night sky gets darker they begin to separate in distance and slowly disappear and the sky becomes quiet and the birds and crickets and owls become noticeable and the deer begin to move from the forest and I know it’s time for me to surrender the night to nature.

The hijacked passengers on Flight 93 on September 11, 2001, traveling at 400 miles an hour would have passed over my house, by my estimation, in about eight minutes. If it had been at night, I would have seen the plane appear on the horizon. The plane would have moved over the urban sprawl of the Philadelphia/Baltimore/Washington area, where the population of the cities is numbered in the millions. Fifteen minutes after they first appeared they would have been over the center of Washington, DC.

The hijackers of that day were not poor, they were far, far from being uneducated, but simply rigorous adherents of a 7th century religion sorely, desperately in need of reform. Seven years after the tragedy of that day, Islam is no closer to fulfillment of that need to co-exist with other religions than it was on that dreadful day. Many countries around the world have since that day, or after their own tragedies, have had to create new legislation, infringe to some small or great extent (depending upon your political views) the liberties of its citizens to prevent further mass murdering rampages by the true believers and strict adherents of the words of Mohammed. Yet, day after day, the terror incidents continue in other countries, the battle for Islamic supremacy continues.

The vigilance must continue, candidates for office must be elected who will continue to balance the need for security against the loss of freedom, for the battle is not over. The World Trade Center was first attacked by strict Islamists on February 26, 1993. This symbol of American freedom and prosperity was not destroyed in that initial attack. They returned, eight years later, to finish what they had been unsuccessful at first accomplishing. Whether you are eight minutes away, or it is eight years later, Islam must continue to be confronted and forced to capitulate to the 21st century. The force of public opinion has unimaginable power over elected officials. Let your voice be heard.

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