Those who conceived and carried out the attacks of Sept. 11 leaned over our backyard fences in the weeks before to chat with us about the weather. They smiled at the clerk bagging their groceries. And, they researched the flight characteristics of a 757. Theirs was a mission of such conviction, of such fervor and righteousness that they saw their American neighbors, saw the grocery clerk, and saw our sons and daughters, not as "collateral damage" in a battle waged against an army, but as primary targets in a holy war that knows no morality. It is not the work of honest and justly aggrieved souls to cunningly exploit their neighbor's open gate so to enter with a smile and kill his wife and children. This is not the sign of a "grievance unanswered." It is the act of barbarians.
Some wonder if we're culpable. "Was it something we did," they ask. Have we offended these others with our enthusiasms for our life, our liberties ... our success? Were we not mindful enough of cultural differences? Did we fail to understand the faith and spiritual imperatives of distant groups? Did our military, sailing far from our shores, create insult by its very existence? Did this bring their rage to our doorstep? Stunned, bloodied and reeling, they say we must not respond violently. It only antagonizes and then who knows what grief we may suffer? They worry about more attacks if we defend ourselves. They worry about more attacks if we do nothing. They tiptoe, they whisper, and they agree with their tormentors.
These are not times for tiptoeing about, nor for agreeing with our tormentors, these are not times for equivocation, or for apologies, or for withdrawal. These are times for taking stock, for holding our families close, for helping where we can, and for taking pride in our lives, our many faiths, and our beloved country. Forget the timid souls who worry about offending with flag waving. Raise the flag and raise your eyes to it. It is a symbol for all to see, of who we are, of all we are, and of what we might become. It also symbolizes what we must sometimes defend.
Those who would turn our freedoms and liberties upon us and enter our gate with evil and death in their hearts are not to be reasoned with, not to be tolerated, and not to be excused. Like the rabid dog that jumps our fence snarling and snapping, these foaming fanatics deserve only to be hunted down.
This is the time to let those who seek our destruction know we are peaceful, we are proud, and now we are coming for them.