Blog Post – September 11, 2021

Blog Post – What Has Been Accomplished Since That Fateful Day?

Twenty years ago today America was attacked by Muslim terrorists.  From the air they came.  First the twin towers of the World Trade Center were targeted for devastation; then the Pentagon was attacked with a third plane turning around and heading east.  Its destination was not certain, but its logical path would have been Washington, DC.  Twenty years have come and gone — what have we learned?’

For twenty years we have fought the Taliban.  Many of its leaders, including the mastermind behind the September 11th attacks, have been killed by our military.  Iraq was freed by our military from Saddam Hussein’s cruel hand. That left us in Afghanistan to concentrate on defeating the Taliban.  Unfortunately, as happens too many times, politicians got involved and wouldn’t let our military do the job they were trained to do.  The mission turned more to nation building than to a military mission.  For twenty years our military presence remained in Afghanistan.  Our presence shrunk under President Trump, but remained vigilant.  The last US combat death was in 2019, until . . . .  our current President’s decision to withdraw our entire military presence there.   Within days the US propped-up Afghan government had collapsed and at lightning speed the Taliban took complete control of the country! 

Even though Biden promised there would be no “Saigon moment” in the Afghanistan withdrawal, that is exactly what we got!  A suicide bomber at the Kabul Airport killed 13 of our military personnel, as well as around 100 Afghan citizens who were hoping to escape the coming Taliban reign of terror.  We saw Afghans trying to escape by ‘hitching a ride’ on departing US airplanes, only to fall to their deaths.   We saw women tossing their babies over the wall to American soldiers in the hopes their child would be raised in a free society.  President Biden said the withdrawal was a success and we now see a US administration that is cooperating with the enemy we fought for 20 years!  We see a US State Department that is not allowing chartered American planes that currently sit in an Afghan airport full of American citizens and Afghan citizens who worked with the Americans over the past 20 years to leave because the State Department will not give them permission to land at any military installation to refuel and, because they don’t have clearance from the State Department, other countries cannot allow them to land at their airports!  Our embassy has closed, but when those who are told they don’t have the proper paperwork to depart contact the State Department, they are told to go to the US embassy in Kabul!!  NOTE to the Department of State:  The US embassy in Kabul is CLOSED and Acting Ambassador Ross Wilson left on the last military plane out!  When asked about helping the Taliban financially, President Biden did not give a straight answer.   Biden has said they are depending on the Taliban to help get the remaining American citizens and Afghans who want to leave the country out.  Biden is treating the Taliban as if they are our friends — totally ignoring the more than 2,400 American lives that were taken by the Taliban during the war and the thousands more who left arms and legs behind as a result of an IED.  Where has he been for the past 20 years??

Remember the Fort Hood shooter that took the lives of 14 people and wounded 43?  Former US Army Major Nidal carried business cards calling himself a “soldier of Allah” and shouted “Allahu Akbar” as he shot to death his coworkers.   On August 18th he wrote a letter to the Taliban leadership stating, in part, “We Have Won !!!  Congratulations on your victory . . . . I pray to Allah that He helps you implement Sharia Law . . . .”

Lessons learned from the past 20 years:

American military is the greatest in the world — if politicians stay out of their way!

American military personnel will reach out and take that baby offered by his or her mom in order to give access to a better life.

The American military is trained to be a fighting machine, not build nations. 

Our American military understand better than politicians what is happening in-country and understand full well what will happen in Afghanistan once the news cameras and foreign reporters are gone and the Taliban tightens its grip.  They especially understand what will happen to young girls and women under Taliban rule and they question why they gave their lives, limbs, blood, sweat and tears to see things revert back to the way they were before the invasion! 

Career politicians do not know how to fight a war.

Career politicians do harm to our military either by interfering in the conduct of a war or using the military for social experimentation i.e. women fighting on the front lines; lowering physical standards to allow women to qualify for certain military assignments they would never have qualified for under previous guidelines, thus placing the entire unit and mission in danger; open homosexuals allowed to serve; those who identify as the opposite sex allowed to serve as the gender of their choice.

Top leaders of the military are not willing to take the tough stands demanded of them when their soldiers, sailors or Marines are being used by politicians or placed needlessly in dangerous situations by political decisions made in Washington, DC.

Without strong leadership in the White House, it only takes a few days for the United States to lose its standing in the world.  As we witnessed the chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan and the continued chaos and uncertainty more than a week later, the US has lost credibility in the eyes of the world and emboldened our enemies!    

Do not release terrorists from Guantanamo Bay in exchange for a deserter!  Remember back in 2014 when President Obama released five Guantanamo Bay detainees in exchange for deserter Bowe Berghah’s return?  Well,  “it just so happens” that four of those five are now in leadership positions in the Taliban-formed government in Afghanistan and the fifth was appointed governor of eastern Khost province!  These men are all members of al Qaeda, the group responsible for 9/11!  Yet, Joe Biden says we don’t have to worry about the Taliban.  Yeah, right!                  

This is the blog posted two years ago today:

We probably all remember where we were when we first heard of the attacks on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.  We probably all remember how we were glued to the radio and TV throughout the day to catch every bit of news we could as the vast tragedy began to unfold before a shocked America.  For a few short days – perhaps weeks — the country set aside differences and stood united.  For a few short weeks, Americans turned to God.

As the heroic efforts by passengers on Flight 93 became public, people began to flood the crash site and the community around that old Shanksville strip mine came together to help a nation mourn.  A temporary memorial was set up where fellow Americans and even foreign visitors could leave personal messages and mementos – stuffed animals, trinkets, notes, etc. Volunteers from around Shanksville became “ambassadors” which retold the story of the heroic efforts of the passengers on United Flight 93 to those who visited the temporary memorial.

Step in the National Park Service with the idea to hold a contest to choose the design for the permanent Flight 93 Memorial.  Thus begins the controversy.  This from a September 14, 2005 Michelle Malkin column:  War memorials should memorialize war. If you want peace and understanding and healing and good will toward all, go build Kabbalah centers.

Funded with a mix of public money and private cash (including a $500,000 grant from Teresa Heinz’s far left Heinz Endowments), the winning design, titled the “Crescent of Embrace,” features a grove of maple trees ringing the crash site in the shape of an unmistakable red crescent. The crescent, New York University Middle East Studies professor Bernard Haykel told the Johnstown, Pa., Tribune-Democrat, “is the symbol of ritual and religious life for Muslims.”

Some design contest jury members reportedly raised concerns about the jarring symbol of the hijackers’ faith implanted on the hallowed ground where the passengers of Flight 93 were murdered. But their recommendations to change the name of the memorial (to “Arc of Embrace,” or some such whitewashing) were ignored. Memorial architect Paul Murdoch, whose firm emphasizes “environmental responsibility and sustainability,” did not return calls and e-mails seeking comment, but he did emphasize to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that his creation was about “healing” and “contemplation.” He is also proud of his idea to hang a bunch of wind chimes in a tall tower at the site as a “gesture of healing and bonding.”

Wind chimes? Hey, why not add pinwheels and smiley face stickers and Care Bears while we’re at it, too?

Let’s set aside the utter boneheaded-ness of using a symbol that, inadvertently or not, commemorates the killers’ faith instead of the victims’ revolt. The soft-and-fuzzy memorial design of “Crescent of Embrace” still does injustice to the steely courage of the Flight 93’s passengers and crew. It evokes the defeatism embodied by those behind a similar move to turn the 9/11 memorial at Ground Zero in New York City into a pacifist guilt complex.

This is no way to fight a war. Or to remember those who have died fighting it.

A proper war memorial stirs to anger and action. We all remember passenger Todd Beamer’s last heard words as he and his fellow Americans prepared to take back the plane from al Qaeda’s killers, don’t we?

No, the phrase wasn’t “Let’s meditate.” It was ‘Let’s roll.’”

Mark Steyn weighed in on the controversy:  If (architect Paul) Murdoch sincerely believes in a “crescent of embrace”, let him build one – at the headquarters of a “moderate” Islamic lobby group, or in the parking lot of your wackier colleges.  To impose it on Flight 93 – to, in effect, hijack those passengers a second time – is an abomination.  Flight 93 is about what happens when you understand that some things can’t be embraced. 

About that same time period, the New York Sun editorialized:  “We went to the architect’s Web site, where some images of the design are posted. We kept looking for an American flag or some patriotic symbol and just couldn’t find any.  Perhaps we missed it.  We hope so.  The revolt on flight 93 is going to go down in American history as one of the great moments, and “Let’s roll” is going to rank with the retort that General McAuliffe, surrounded by the enemy en route to Bastogne, delivered to the Nazi demand for surrender, “Nuts.”

There is, incidentally, a museum in Bastogne known as the “Nuts Museum,” a modest place commemorating the spirit of General McAuliffe’s soldiers.  Imagine if it had been built in, say, the shape of the German eagle . . . .”

By the way, last year a 93-foot tower with wind chimes for each of the victims and a grove of trees, called the Tower of Voices was unveiled at the entrance of the Flight 93 Memorial.

Because of the Islamic symbolism within the Flight 93 Memorial design Tom Burnett Sr. asked that the name of his 38-year-old son, Tom Burnett, Jr., who was killed in the crash, not be included.  To the best of my knowledge, the National Park Service did not honor that request.

Listen to Diane Gramley’s 2018 interview with Westmoreland County activist Bill Steiner as he better outlines the continued concerns over the Flight 93 Memorial in Somerset County.  

By the way, a fire in October 2014 at the Flight 93 National Memorial consumed thousands of artifacts from passengers and crew of United Airlines Flight 93, along with the flag that flew above the U.S. Capitol on Sept. 11, 2001.  Additionally, a record of what had been collected at the memorial was also burned up.  An investigation found conditions could have been avoided to prevent the fire — the absence of an adequate “fire prevention system,” inadequate storage facilities and the presence of flammable materials. All it took was a stray cigarette or cigar to ignite some mulch, which is what investigators “strongly” suspect started the fire. Plastic “lumber” also fueled the flames, the report found.   

So . . .  some of America’s history goes up in flames . . . .

Here we are eighteen years after that day where 3,000 Americans died in three separate attacks on American soil.  Where have we come as a nation?  Are children learning the real story of that day or are their lessons being whitewashed as so many attempts have been made to whitewash the memorials that were built to commemorate the heroism of that day?  How many Americans remember “Let’s roll” and the heroic actions that followed those words?

How will the story of September 11, 2001 evolve in another eighteen years?  Questions we, as Americans, should all ponder.

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