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America stands united

By Staff
Sept. 16, 2001
This week brought untold death and suffering to thousands of innocent Americans with the attack on our country by barbaric terrorist cowards. There is no doubt that when the death tally is complete, September 11, 2001, could easily be the bloodiest day in American history.
Right now, I ask that you pray. Pray to our merciful God for the families who have lost loved ones, for the ongoing recovery effort, and for our nation's leaders and especially our President as we face some very difficult decisions concerning recovery, prevention, justice and the future of American freedom.
For all their plotting, the terrorists have failed to instill terror. America is not afraid. To the contrary, we are perhaps more united and determined than at any point since World War II. I call on all Americans to remain focused on helping the survivors, comforting the bereaved and to cooperate in a ceaseless effort to prevent such an incident from happening again.
Already the generous response to the suffering has shown the World what kind of people we are as Americans compassionate, courageous, good people who are much braver and better than any terrorist.
The free world must be as committed as Americans are right now to extracting a heavy toll from those individuals or states which supported these evil acts.
This is an affront to humanity itself, just as threatening, immoral and evil as any perverted plan conceived by the likes of Hitler, or any of history's worst criminals.
I am hopeful that each civilized nation on Earth will stand behind or assist America when our response comes. Those who would dare commit such crimes against the civilized world must know that even these heinous schemes cannot stop freedom.
Nor should they believe this was only an attack on
Americans.
Already, in a historic show of unity, the House and Senate authorized $40 billion for the relief effort, and we have passed a resolution giving our President the authority to engage our armed forces in the fight against terrorism. Our nation and its government must remain on war footing, and continue to act in a bipartisan, bicameral way.
This is one of those rare but defining moments in our history where we have set aside all other kinds of conflicts, prejudices and passions and have come together. To defeat terrorism, we must sustain this unity for a long time, regardless of region, religion, race, party, philosophy, or anything else.
This is not a time for timidity, second guessing or philosophic debate. It is a time for very serious unyielding resolve. In the midst of this, the federal government must ask: Are we doing all we can to fulfill our federal government's original and most important duty the protection of individual Americans, our way of life and the shores of our nation from attack?
Make no mistake. This disaster will forever change the way America thinks of its security. It is ironic, but in the coming weeks Congress had already planned to consider legislation that deals with the type of scenario which, unfortunately, became real this week.
Bills to fund our nation's counter-terrorism programs and a proposal for National Energy Policy each have a direct impact on our nation's security.
In the wake of this tragedy fuel prices skyrocketed, and markets were unstable contributing to economic uncertainties and further diminishing the freedom of American people. This too is part of an unsuspected wake-up call.
The sight of American fighter jets patrolling the skies over Manhattan should bring home to all Americans a very stark reality. America faces a much different and more complex enemy, and America itself must first and foremost be defended in this new conflict.
We must improve our intelligence apparatus and our security measures. I believe we must also give serious consideration to a national missile defense system to protect our homeland, and we must fervently continue the rebuilding of our military across the board.
Again, I ask for your fervent prayers during this difficult period. America has been attacked, but freedom survives. Like generations of Americans before us, we will unite, take on evil and defeat it yet again.
Senator Trent Lott welcomes any questions or comments about this column. Write him at 487 Russell Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C. 20510 (Attn.: Press Office).

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