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A Gift Of Wool And Copper

Seven years.

Seven years ago today.

It seems so long ago; so much has changed.

It seems just like yesterday, it's so fresh in my memory.

How long does it take to change the course of history? Technically, the tiniest fraction of a second. In reality, it was all of one hour and forty-nine minutes from the instant that the first plane struck the World Trade Center until the second tower fell.

In the past, I've tried to coordinate some sort of group memorial effort here at Wizbang. This year, I just couldn't get myself to do it. I had no ideas, no motivation, no overwhelming compulsion to try and make this day a memorial to that modern day of infamy.

I don't know why I felt this, but I think part of it is that I'm tired of thinking so much about the past. I want to think about the future.

Too many of us spend too much time living in the past. We relive past glories, refight old battles, revisit former relationships, reconsider regretted decisions.

We must never forget the past, but we must never forget that it is the past.

For decades, the varied forces of militant Islam waged war against the United States. For the most part, we ignored it. We treated it as a nuisance, as a simple matter for law enforcement -- and the occasional cruise missile or dozen. It was annoying, but it wasn't much of a threat. We were very, very lucky.

And then, one sunny morning seven years ago, our luck ran out.

No, that's not quite true. Our luck changed sides.

There is a truism in war that the defender never wins. As long as one side holds the initiative, they can attack over and over again. The defender has no say in the time or place or manner of the attack.

In this model, the advantage is to the aggressor. If they attack and fail, then they simply regroup and try again. And they only have to succeed once.

Seven years ago, they succeeded once. They made us pay a very dear price.

But they paid an even dearer price. They pushed the United States to go on the offensive, and we reminded the world just how inconceivably mighty the United States can be, when we choose to exercise our power.

A power that can not be checked by any force in the world -- save our own judgment and our own conscience and our own humanity.

That lesson, much like our national unity, was just as quickly forgotten.

But it still remains true.

These are two of the lessons of 9/11 that we must remember today, and for the future:

  • When an enemy declares himself, honor that threat. Their insignificance today is no guarantee of insignificance in the future.
  • The power and might of the United States -- military, political, economic, social, and moral -- are almost inconceivable, when mustered and unleashed.
  • The mere thought of the United States using even a fraction of that power terrifies many people -- both here and abroad -- and they will do almost anything to prevent it from happening, no matter the provocation.

According to tradition, the traditional gifts for the seventh anniversary are wool and copper. This seems somehow appropriately symbolic: from a nation that was largely pastoral, the mightiest, most technologically advanced nation was struck a mighty blow. The gatherers of wool savagely wounded the nation that runs on electronic signals sent along copper wire.

Seven years. Seven goddamned years. A beautiful morning that saw such horror. It's almost as if God or Nature knew what was going to happen, and wanted to make sure we all saw it literally clear as day. There were no clouds to obscure the sun, no rain to settle the dust, no great winds to disperse the smoke.

Until the smoke and dust and tears hid the details, at which point our imagination more than filled in the gaps.

Clouds and rain and snow have come and gone. The smoke has vanished on the winds. Our tears have dried.

Some memories have faded.

Some never will.


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Comments (13)

Very nicely put. But the re... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

Very nicely put. But the reason 9/11 attacks are in the past in our memories is because we had a defender of all things U.S. in the White House that made sure there were not recent memories of another horrible terrorist event on our shores. Thank God for GW. ww

First, great article. Seco... (Below threshold)
Moonbat Detective:

First, great article. Second, God Bless all those in the military, God Bless those that were taken by those Islamofascists, God Bless President George Walker Bush and God Bless America!

P.S. Does anyone know of an armed forces website that we can thank our bravest? I would love to tell them how much their service means to this country.

Excellent post...... (Below threshold)
Knightbrigade:

Excellent post...
Never forget, but moving forward...

President Bush and our troops have done exactly that. A big thanks!!!!

Proud to be an American!!

Maybe the coward who voted ... (Below threshold)

Maybe the coward who voted down the previous comments could be brave enough to tell us why they did so. But I doubt it. We have not been hit again because action was taken, beginning with George W. Bush. Did anyone really think that we would not have been hit again here on American soil after 7 more years? Talking and clean water and doctors will not change the minds of those dtermined to kill us. They must be killed first, or at least have their capabilities so damaged that they could not pull something like 9/11 off again.

So go ahead and stew in your hatred of Bush. Those of us who think clearly know differently, and will continue to thank God for a man willing to make hard the choices necessary to defend the nation he swore an oath to protect. Whatever his faults, the steadfastness of George W. Bush will be a major part of his legacy. May the next person privileged to be elected President of this great nation share his resolve, as well as his success.

JT, a most excellent articl... (Below threshold)
Jess:

JT, a most excellent article for this morning.

To JFNK, I say that a man of good faith can ignore without peril those who do not or will not remember, but perhaps he can just view them with a touch of sadness:

"That man is little to be envied, whose patriotism would not gain force upon the plain of Marathon, or whose piety would not grow warmer among the ruins of Iona."

To Johnson's words I would add "Ground Zero", or perhaps more properly "United 93". "Arlington" springs to mind as well.

J

An Agnostic Amen.... (Below threshold)
epador:

An Agnostic Amen.

You really have to wonder w... (Below threshold)
Hannah Stevens:

You really have to wonder why we haven't been "hit" again because they could do it easily if they wanted to. Seaports and borders wide open, chemical plants wide open, people have still gotten through airport "security" with guns and knives and box cutters. If they really wanted to do it they could there is nothing stopping them. I think there is another reason, I don't think it was al Qaeda or Osama bin Laden who did it.

And of course president bus... (Below threshold)
Hannah Stevens:

And of course president bush loves this day. this was the day that he became a war president and he ran on that in the 2004 election. I remember watching him in the classroom that day reading "My Pet Goat" to the children even though he knew the WTC had been hit. I couldn't imagine why he would just sit there and read like that with our nation under attack. and then he got on airforce one and literally disappeared for 8 hours. They couldn't reach him at one point. Cheney of course was running things from his bunker. In fact he was carrying out mock attack excersize that day. Hmmm...

Thanks Jay.... (Below threshold)
maggie:

Thanks Jay.


Jay,Awesome and we... (Below threshold)
Son Of The Godfather:

Jay,

Awesome and well written post. Thank you.

Hannah,

Go play on the freeway.

Thanks Jay.Hannah,... (Below threshold)
Clay:

Thanks Jay.

Hannah, maybe someday your anger will be focused appropriately. Today isn't about George W. Bush. Nor is today about the 19 monsters who destroyed treasures that were not theirs to take. Today is about remembering 2,998 souls who left behind people who loved an miss them very much.

Great time for remembran... (Below threshold)
MF:

Great time for remembrance and time to give thanks that we live in America the best country in the World.
God Bless America.

My prayers and love go out to the families and friends who lost loved ones and to those who passed away, those that survived, and those who so readily provided help.

Thank you Jay :)

When an enemy declares h... (Below threshold)

When an enemy declares himself, honor that threat. Their insignificance today is no guarantee of insignificance in the future.

A lesson Mr. Incredible learned too late for the rest of the superhero community.

A lesson Emperor Palpatine learned too late for the continuance of his Empire.

A lesson America hopefully won't regret ignoring as the Russian bear once again rises to its feet.




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