Best of Bark: Flying on 9/11


Today, at around 2:54 or so, I will board a plane. For the fourth year in a row, I’ll be on a plane on the anniversary of the most horrific terror act in the history of the world.

I wish that I could tell you that it’s just another day, that I’m not worried or afraid. Unfortunately, that would be a lie.

I think of all of us who are adults can remember where they were, what they were doing, and how they heard the news of American Airlines Flight 11 striking the North Tower. I remember finding out that my dad was in the air at the time the attacks happened. However, there are children who will be graduating high school this year who literally have no memory of the event. For them, it’s ancient history. My son and daughter will likely think of 9/11 the way that I think of Pearl Harbor.

I visited the 9/11 Memorial two years ago. I remember tracing the names of some of those who lost their lives around the fountains that now stand where the twin towers used to be. Even then, it was already an event that had become more historical than presently relevant. Children were running around the park and playing. People were posing for pictures, laughing and smiling. I was unable to join in their frivolity. To me, I was walking through a mass graveyard.

Today, we will all hear and see memorials and tributes and speeches. However, that’s not enough. The mantra of “Never Forget” is, unfortunately, already forgotten.

The same threat that existed then exists now. They may call themselves by a different name, but at the heart of it, they are the same threat. ISIS is certainly not the JV team. They have resources, yes, but they also have something that we used to have in the days after 9/11 that we lost a long time ago.

They are united. They are driven. They are radical. They will accept nothing less than total and complete victory.

When you fight an enemy whose only goal is your complete eradication, you cannot fight with anything less than total commitment. Unfortunately, the Executive branch of this government has failed to act swiftly or decisively against ISIS. They will not commit the necessary resources required for victory. They don’t have a strategy. President Obama has been reluctant to even call the threat what it is—a religious jihad against America. He and Secretary John Kerry cannot stop making excuses for Islam, calling ISIS a perversion of one of the world’s great peaceful religions.

How many times have we heard a football or basketball coach, when lamenting his team’s performance after a game, say the phrase, “They wanted it more than we did.” You’ll never hear a coach say that after a victory, will you? It’s only heard when a team that is clearly more talented loses.

There’s no doubt that America has the greatest military capability in the world. However, I don’t think there’s any doubt that ISIS wants it more than our leadership does right now. And as long as that’s the case, victory will be difficult to achieve.

So, yes, I’ll be getting on that plane today. To do otherwise, to disrupt my normal pattern of life, would be to admit defeat. That doesn’t mean I’m not anxious about it, because I am. But I will board the plane, and if somebody tries to disrupt my flight, I will go down swinging.

President Obama told us during his speech this week that Americans feel safer. I don’t know anybody who feels safer. Do you?

2 Replies to “Best of Bark: Flying on 9/11”

  1. paul pellico

    I was pulled off the runway in New York.
    My sister was stuck in France.
    Brothers stuck in Eastern Europe somewhere…ya, what a time.

    Immediately went back and gotmy hotel room and rental car back.

    Finally, after 4 days, I listened to my American Airline pilot friends and drove back to Chicago, dropping off the car at an abandoned O Hare field.

    Flew the next week to Kuala Lumpur and then Pucket, and THAT was amazing.

    At customs in Thailand, upon seeing 4 American brothers at the counter, ALL the customs agents came out from behind their counters and bowed and took our hands proclaiming in tears how sad they were for what had happened to our country.

    Thailand, truly amazing and still my very fav nation and people to visit.


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