09/11/07 — Remember 9/11: There will be time for more politics, debate tomorrow

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Remember 9/11: There will be time for more politics, debate tomorrow

It was tempting today to write about Gen. David Petraeus and his report before Congress Monday on the state of the war in Iraq — and some of the disrespect that greeted him there.

But as necessary as that commentary might be, today is not the day for it.

There will be plenty of time for political rhetoric and presidential campaigns tomorrow.

Today is a day to remember.

This morning, this nation marked the sixth anniversary of the day — a Tuesday, just like today — when 3,000 Americans lost their lives in what can be described as nothing less than a vicious, cowardly attack.

That day in 2001, one of the worst in our history, was a horrible reminder that there are people in the world who do not operate with honor, but with some misguided devotion to a cause they claim is religion, but looks a whole lot more like fanaticism.

But we learned something else that day.

We learned that even though we might disagree about our approach or who should be in charge in the White House, we are united under a flag that makes us a nation.

And when the going gets tough, we are there for each other.

There are many stories of heroism from Sept. 11. There were hundreds of New York City firefighters and police officers who braved the wreckage to hunt for victims. There were thousands of Americans from all walks of life who gave money to make sure there was a fund in place for families who lost loved ones that day. There were rescue workers and others from all over the country who took time off from work to head to New York and Washington to lend a hand. There were people from all over the country who dried tears and folded their hands in prayer in mourning as they watched and waited for news. There were members of the military who took to the skies and the ground to protect their homeland from further attack.

And then there were the passengers on United 93 who were flying over Pennsylvania.

They heard of the disaster in New York — and facing a terrorist threat of their own and not being sure what the next target might be — they stormed the cockpit.

They did not know if they would live or die. They did not fight back only to try to get home to their families. They wanted to make sure that no more Americans would be killed.

And they lost their lives as heroes.

There will be lots of speeches today about American spirit, terrorism and what the next steps should be in this battle to beat those whose hate defines their existence.

But as we mark this anniversary today, we need to remember that we are first and foremost a nation of heroes united under the flag of freedom.

It is that strength and character that will carry us forward — a legacy from those who showed us six years ago what bravery really means.

Published in Editorials on September 11, 2007 11:09 AM