Like most of Wisconsin, I was driving in to work, ready for another normal day. But, as I turned from University Avenue onto Lake Street, my life and the way I perceived the world and its people was changed for me, whether I was ready for it or not.
It was impossible to ignore what was happening on the news, trying to shrug it off as another terrorist bombing in far-off New York. As reports told of the second 757 jet plowing into the side of the second tower of the World Trade Center, no longer could I ignore what was happening to my fellow Americans.
“These are the times,” my father said to me on the phone, “that Americans come together to do whatever is possible to help one another.”
I know that “the industrial might of the United States will overcome, and, like a phoenix, remember those who lost their lives on this day of innocence lost.”
The idea from the terrorist(s) is to prove that they can hurt us, punish us into submission to see things their way, which is to decimate the free will and ability to be free from terror. It is true what President Roosevelt said: “The only thing we need to fear is fear itself.” Fear that we can’t overcome the pain, fear to seek reciprocity for the blunder that has been made by those who believe we will abandon or weaken that which they hate with such passion. We dearly love this notion of liberty enough to die for its protection, and to sacrifice our individuality for the continuation of freedom’s ideals. Freedom in the United States, and the idea that one and all can be free from small minds, small ideas and selfish prideful sin, will succeed.
Before the attack on Pearl Harbor, Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto said, “If we fail in this endeavor, I feel we will have awakened a sleeping giant.” Dear terrorists: Hello, evil souls. It is time for you to understand we will not give up the fight, we will not surrender, we will not go silently into the night, and the United States of America chooses to fight back!
We have awakened. Now you must scurry back to your dark places for we will shine the light of justice upon you. You cannot hide.