Friday, September 6, 2013

One Date, Two Tragedies

One Date, Two Tragedies
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
September 6, 2013

This year September 11 has more significance than in previous years and for several reasons. Of course this is the 12th year we commemorate and memorialize the terrorist attacks on American soil in New York City, Arlington, VA, and Shanksville, PA where 2,996 Americans were slaughtered by Muslim extremists who hijacked airplanes and used them as murder weapons.

This is also the first anniversary of the murders in Benghazi, Libya of US Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, US Foreign Service officer Sean Smith, as well as Navy SEALs Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods, also by Muslim extremists.

Having grown up in the shadows of the Twin Towers, as well as living and working minutes from the Pentagon on that once beautifully sunny Tuesday morning turned fateful and tragic, the events of that day are indelibly seared into my memory and psyche.

While listening to the roll call of the names of the victims read each year at the site of the World Trade Center, remember also, those four men on the job in Benghazi murdered by Islamo-terrorists. The men, women, and children slaughtered 12 years ago and just last year were murdered by Muslim extremist terrorists in the name of a supposed religion of peace, yet proven to be anything but by the perpetrators.

This year, as Syria is boiling over, while Iran continues striving toward nuclear capabilities, while Muslim extremism continues its perpetual reign of terror both in and out of the Middle East, peace is still the goal. Peace cannot be achieved via acquiescence or weak-kneed threats lacking backbone and follow through.

On this September 11, there is a juxtaposition between war and peace as this year’s observance falls during the Days of Awe, between the Jewish High Holy Days of Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year) and Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement). While we pray for peace, there is also an understanding that war, however unpleasant, is sometimes necessary.

In the prayer book for the High Holy Days there is “A Prayer for Our Country” in which we recite “May this country forever be the land of the free, where all may dwell in security and peace.”

There is also “A Prayer for Peace.” In it we recite, “I will bring peace to the land, and you shall lie down and no one shall terrify you. I will rid the land of vicious beasts and it shall not be ravaged by war.”

Pray for peace, but remember that G-d helps those who help themselves. Meaning, we must, at times, fight to retain our way of life and to live in peace.

America is viewed as weak on the global stage today, as it was in 1979-80 when 52 Americans languished in an Iranian hellhole for 444 days. It was no coincidence those hostages were released the day Ronald Reagan took the oath of office, becoming the 40th president of the United States on January 20, 1981. Iran feared the United States. Both Reagan and Obama, in their own ways, proved it is better to be feared than loved.

There has not been peace under Obama. With Reagan there was “peace through strength.” Pray for peace. Remember the fallen – both from 12 years ago, as well as last year. Work and strive to keep the United States of America “the land of the free and the home of the brave.”

Sanford D. Horn is a writer and educator living in Westfield, IN. On September 11, 2001 he was writing for a newspaper in Northern Virginia.

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