One nation, indivisible'
Sept. 12, 2001
On Dec. 7, 1941, the Japanese empire launched a sneak attack on the American naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii sinking or crippling all eight American battleships in port, destroying half the U.S. and British aircraft in the Pacific, killing over 2,400 servicemen and civilians and injuring 1,178.
The bombing raid gave Japan control of one-quarter of the Earth's surface for a time.
Yesterday's attack on the World Trade Center in New York City and on the Pentagon in Washington has almost certainly claimed more American lives, injured more innocent victims and thrown our nation into momentary chaos.
The suicide plane crashes into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon are literally ripped from the pages of a Tom Clancy novel. The television footage is sickening, chilling and maddening.
For what Tom Brokaw has called "the Greatest Generation my parents' generation Pearl Harbor was a sobering tragedy that quickly galvanized America into a united nation prepared to suffer and sacrifice to avenge those who would take the lives of our fellow citizens with such utter disregard for human suffering.
Japan's triumph was short-lived. America came together, answered the call and exacted a punishment on the Japanese empire that was horrible but one that taught a lesson to those who would presume to rob our nation of our freedom.
Yesterday, in the carnage in New York City and in Washington, the current generation of Americans received a wake-up call. We are no longer spectators to international terrorism we are victims. We cannot retreat into isolationist foreign policies and there are indeed times when we must step forward and be the world's policeman for if not us, who?
The terrorists who killed and maimed American civilians should enjoy their "victory" yesterday in whatever twisted cause they claim to be defending for as it was on that "date that will live in infamy" some 60 years ago, it will be a short-lived triumph.
Today, we are all Americans neither Democrat or Republican, liberal or conservative, rich or poor, black or white or red or yellow. We will come together. We will bury our dead and heal our wounded. We will restore order to our streets, our airports and our seat of government.
Sense of sacrifice
And then, we will unleash the diplomatic, intelligence and military assets necessary to find the scum who attacked us like a thief in the night and we will retaliate against them with a united national fury perhaps unseen in this nation since the days of World War II.
We spend so much time fighting among ourselves in this nation over political and social ideology that we have forgotten to appreciate the basic freedoms that soldiers like my father fought to defend and we've lost the sense of sacrifice for country that women like my mother lived while Dad was overseas.
We've forgotten to thank God for his daily watch over our lives. We've become complacent as Americans and we take our liberties and freedoms for granted.
Yesterday was a wake-up call. Will we answer? I believe with all my heart that from the ashes of this tragedy will be forged a stronger, more united
America. That is our history. That is our destiny.
May God bless us in these hours. And may we remember that God and country are not outdated concepts. We remain one nation indivisible.
Sid Salter is Perspective Editor/Columnist at The Clarion-Ledger in Jackson and a syndicated Mississippi political columnist. Contact him at 601-961-7084, P.O. Box 40, Jackson, MS 39206, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.