On this day, I can’t help thinking about how much has changed since I joined the Navy. I was commissioned in 1998, when we were wrapped comfortably in the illusion of safety. Even when the USS COLE was bombed in Yemen in 2000, nothing changed much. Bill Clinton launched Tomahawk strikes in Afghanistan and called it good, situation handled. Our defensive posture, the way we conducted business, it was all the same – until September 11, 2001.
I remember being pissed off that we were not immediately deployed somewhere to exact retribution on whoever was responsible. I remember the next day when we found out that one of our previous commanding officer’s, Captain Gerald F. DeConto, had been killed at the Pentagon.
No one asked me, but I think our big-picture overall strategy in fighting terrorism is correct. It’s multi-layered and forward-leaning and we’re fighting it like a war – because it is a war. It doesn’t just focus on Al Qaeda; that would be a mistake, since there are plenty of other terrorist organization that desire harm to come to America and our allies. Even the FARC in Colombia has declared American servicemen military targets and some middle eastern terrorist organizations are setting up shop in Latin America; Islam has even gained a foothold in some countries down here. I’m doing my part right now, trying to help cut off money to drug trafficking/terrorist organizations (the front-end, in the supply chain of terrorism).
It’s also a culture war. Osama bin Laden's own words prove that although the Cults of Liberalism and Islamofacism are completely disparate and philosophically at odds, the end goal of both is the destruction of all that has made America the greatest country on Earth. By living your life to the best of your productive ability, promoting and practicing capitalism, democracy and exhibiting the best qualities of Americans, you do your part too.
Here’s the President’s address for this Patriot Day:
Patriot Day, 2007
A Proclamation by the President of the United States of America
September 11, 2001, was a defining moment in American history. On that terrible day, our Nation saw the face of evil as 19 men barbarously attacked us and wantonly murdered people of many races, nationalities, and creeds. On Patriot Day, we remember the innocent victims, and we pay tribute to the valiant firefighters, police officers, emergency personnel, and ordinary citizens who risked their lives so others might live.
After the attacks on 9/11, America resolved that we would go on the offense against our enemies, and we would not distinguish between the terrorists and those who harbor and support them. All Americans honor the selfless men and women of our Armed Forces, the dedicated members of our public safety, law enforcement, and intelligence communities, and the thousands of others who work hard each day to protect our country, secure our liberty, and prevent future attacks.
The spirit of our people is the source of America's strength, and 6 years ago, Americans came to the aid of neighbors in need. On Patriot Day, we pray for those who died and for their families. We volunteer to help others and demonstrate the continuing compassion of our citizens.
On this solemn occasion, we rededicate ourselves to laying the foundation of peace with confidence in our mission and our free way of life.
By a joint resolution approved December 18, 2001 (Public Law 107-89), the Congress has designated September 11 of each year as "Patriot Day."
NOW, THEREFORE, I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of
America, do hereby proclaim September 11, 2007, as Patriot Day. I call upon the Governors of the United States and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, as well as appropriate officials of all units of government, to direct that the flag be flown at half-staff on Patriot Day. I also call upon the people of the United States to observe Patriot Day with appropriate ceremonies, activities, and remembrance services, to display the flag at half-staff from their homes on that day, and to observe a moment of silence beginning at 8:46 a.m. eastern daylight time to honor the innocent Americans and people from around the world who lost their lives as a result of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this fourth day of
September, in the year of our Lord two thousand seven, and of the
Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-second.
GEORGE W. BUSH