I doubt that any American who lived through it could forget that day.
As I reflect on how our country has changed in the fifteen years since the September 1, 2001, terrorist attacks in NYC, Washington, and Shanksville, I'm struck by several things. On that day, I could never have imagined the America I live in today.
It seems political correctness has trumped common sense in the intervening years. Some people are so afraid of offending someone - anyone - that they attempt to stifle the free speech of others, to the point of ridiculousness.
Others seem to spend their days looking for something to be offended by. Grow up, people! Life's too short.
If you had told me 15 years ago that today's college students would be demanding "safe spaces" to keep them from being "triggered" and "feeling assaulted" by someone else's words scribbled on the sidewalk in chalk, and that the writing that "assaulted them" was nothing more than the last name of a presidential candidate, I'd probably still be laughing!
When and how did we raise such a generation of pansies?! Aren't college campuses the place where ideas are freely and openly discussed and challenged by students who are "finding themselves?" And where all points of view should be respected and listened to?
What are those poor, delicate little flowers going to do when they get their first job and their boss is having a bad day and yells at them?! What a shock it will be for them to learn that in real life, there are no trophies for "participation," there are winners and losers. And sometimes, they will be the loser. (Given their pansy attitudes, that will probably be more often than not.)
If you are a parent of one of those kids, you failed them (and the rest of society). It was your responsibility to prepare them to be functioning, successful adult members of society - you know, to put on their big girl panties and deal with it! Not to be spoiled brats who believe that their opinion is the only one that matters, and that people who hold other views should not even be allowed to speak.
And if you had told me that one of our country's outstanding world-record Olympic gold medalists, a man with six biological children and four step-children, would suddenly decide to become a woman after 65 years as a man, I'd have asked what you were smoking!
Yet that is the world we live in today.
As a nation, we have gradually become more and more tolerant of minorities, illegal immigrants, LGBT individuals, gay marriage, and any number of other things that would make your granny roll over in her grave, like allowing boys in the girls' bathroom at school.
When I was in high school, a boy caught in the girls' bathroom would have been lucky if a few days' suspension was all he got. Now, they're being invited in, as long as they "identify" as female. And not just invited - our president thinks we should have laws that mandate it.
How did we get here? First, we need to examine some history to gain perspective. Since our schools apparently don't teach actual history any more, bear with me. It's necessary to understand this background to understand what's happening today.
The terrorist attacks that killed thousands of innocent American men, women and children on September 11, 2001, were perpetrated by Arab muslim men who were radical Islamic extremists (a phrase our president appears to be incapable of uttering).
Many Americans, especially younger ones, believe that was the beginning of the Islamists' attacks on America. Today's college freshmen were mere toddlers on 9/11, too young to have understood what was happening. Most are ignorant to the fact that Islam has been "spreading its religion" via terrorism since its inception in the 7th century, waging war on other cultures for some 1400 years, first establishing an Islamic empire in the Middle East and Africa through conquest.
In 637 A.D., Muslims took control of Jerusalem, which then became a holy site to Muslims, as it already was to both Christians and Jews. On the order of caliph Umar, the first mosque in Jerusalem was built on the Temple Mount, over the ruins of the second Jewish Temple, which had been destroyed by the Romans in 70 A.D.
In 1095, many Western Europeans responded to urging from Pope Urban II to help the Byzantines retake control of the Holy Land from the Muslim invaders, in what is known as the first of the Crusades. Some "politically correct" folks, including our current president and former president Bill Clinton and many in the liberal media, have used the Crusades to defend and justify Muslim hatred of Christians. I guess they forgot their history, and the fact that the Muslims were engaging in their own "crusades" for 400 years leading up to the first European Crusade.
Barbary Pirates, also known as Corsairs, operated with impunity from the Mediterranean ports along the northern African coast, including Algiers, Tunis, and Tripoli, from the 9th Century. They terrorized Mediterranean shipping, capturing over a thousand ships and routinely taking the captive crews to be sold into slavery in Africa if not ransomed.
They also routinely raided coastal villages as far away as England, Ireland and Iceland for the purpose of capturing the local populace for their slave trade. In one raid on Iceland, those who resisted capture were killed, and the elderly were rounded up and placed inside their church, which was then set on fire.
Ransoms were hard to come by, and the amount of the ransom depended upon the captured crew member's importance (or job) on the ship. The ship's captain, for example, would require a higher ransom than an ordinary seaman.
The total number of Europeans taken captive by the Barbary pirates is estimated to be between 800,000 and 1.2 million! It was also those same Middle Eastern Muslim terrorists who first began the practice of capturing and enslaving large numbers of black Africans, and forcing their conversion to Islam. African slaves were routinely castrated (but not in medical facilities) because they were believed to have uncontrollable sexual appetites.
The first Muslim attacks against American interests actually began before the United States of America was founded. The Barbary pirates attacked American ships during the American Revolution.
As Ambassador to France, Thomas Jefferson traveled to London to meet with John Adams, our Ambassador to England, and the ambassador for the dey (ruler) of Tripoli. They met to negotiate a peace treaty, not yet understanding that in Islam, the only "peace" is that achieved through total submission to Islam.
The Tripolitan Ambassador explained to them that a "temporary peace," for one year, could be purchased by payment of $66,000 plus 10% commission. A lasting peace could be acquired by payment of $166,000 + the usual commission. And that treaty was only with Tripoli. The other Barbary nations would expect to be paid as well. The total payment would amount to $1.3 million. Imagine the magnitude of that figure to the newly minted nation, prior to 1800.
Jefferson did not understand. The Americans were not at war with Tripoli, and had done nothing to provoke the Barbarians. So why were they being attacked? The ambassador explained the concept of Islamic jihad to them, and that any nation that had not submitted to Islam was, by definition, at war with Islam.
Jefferson wrote, in a letter to John Jay:
"The Ambassador answered us that it was founded on the Laws of their Prophet, that it was written in their Koran, that all nations who should not have acknowledged their authority were sinners, that it was their right and duty to make war upon them wherever they could be found, and to make slaves of all they could take as Prisoners, and that every Musselman [Muslim] who should be slain in battle was sure to go to Paradise.”
The ambassador had explained the "rules of engagement" set forth in the Koran, in Surah 47:4:
"Therefore, when ye meet the Unbelievers (in fight), smite at their necks; At length, when ye have thoroughly subdued them, bind a bond firmly (on them): thereafter (is the time for) either generosity or ransom: Until the war lays down its burdens. Thus (are ye commanded): but if it had been Allah's Will, He could certainly have exacted retribution from them (Himself); but (He lets you fight) in order to test you, some with others. But those who are slain in the Way of Allah,- He will never let their deeds be lost."
Perplexed by such a strange idea, Jefferson acquired and began to study a copy of the Koran in order to better understand his adversary.
As the newly inaugurated American President, Thomas Jefferson, in 1801, refused to pay the newly increased amount of tribute demanded by the Barbarians. His studies of the Koran had given him a better understanding of Islamic beliefs, including that it is permissible to lie to the infidel (non-believer) in order to achieve the goals of Islam, which include world domination and submission to Islam, by force, if necessary.
He had learned that the Muslim view of treaties was that they were merely advisory, and they only agreed to treaties when they did not have the strength to forcefully overcome their adversaries. He knew that there was no guarantee that, even after payment, the treaties would be honored, and that the amounts demanded were certain to continue rising.
Should the Barbarians ever gain sufficient military strength to mount a challenge, all bets were off. The U.S. burden in ransom and tributes to the Barbary states in 1800 amounted to 20% of the U.S. government's expenditures!
“Too long, for the honor of nations, have those Barbarians been suffered [permitted] to trample on the sacred faith of treaties, on the rights and laws of human nature!”
When Jefferson refused to pay the demanded tribute, Tripoli declared war against the U.S., on May 10, 1801. Jefferson sent naval vessels to the Mediterranean to protect and defend American shipping interests, in response to the threat from the Barbary pirates. They blockaded the port city of Tripoli from 1803 to 1805.
In 1805, American Marines assembled an army of mostly African mercenaries who marched across the blistering Egyptian desert into Tripoli and defeated the Barbarians, freeing those Americans who had been captured and enslaved. (Oorah!)
Most Americans know the first line of the Marines' Hymn:
"From the halls of Montezuma, to the shores of Tripoli . . . "
This is the decisive battle to which the phrase "to the shores of tripoli" refers. ("From the halls of Montezuma" refers to the Battle of Chapultepec (1847), during the Mexican-American War, where Marines stormed Chapultepec Castle.)
This is also where the Marines picked up their "leatherneck" nickname. Because of the Mohammedans' penchant for attempting to behead them in obedience to the Koran, the Marines during this engagement wore thick leather bands around their necks to deflect the blows of Islamic swords.
Yet many today, including our current president, attempt to whitewash Islam as a "religion of peace," and justify the hate of today's Muslims for the West because of the Crusades, which they incorrectly paint as imperialism. The purpose of the Crusades was to re-take the Holy Land from the Islamic invaders who captured it by force centuries earlier. It took half a millennium (5 centuries) to recapture portions of Europe that had been conquered by Islamic invaders.Today's leaders (and citizens) would be wise to follow Jefferson's lead and learn more about their adversary by studying the literature, culture and history of Islam, rather than listening to the lies (sanctioned by the Koran) of revisionist Islamists, who conveniently ignore the 400 years of Islamic crusades before that.
1979 Iran Hostage Crisis: seizure of US Embassy, Tehran, Iran (Nov 4, 1979, Americans held hostage for 444 days, released within hours after Republican Ronald Reagan inaugurated as successor to Democrat Jimmy Carter)
1983 Bombing of US Embassy, Beirut, Lebanon (April 18, 1983)
1983 Bombing of US Marine Barracks, Beirut, Lebanon (Oct 23, 1983)
1983 Bombing of US Embassy, Kuwait (Dec 12, 1983)
1984 Bombing of US Embassy (again), Beirut, Lebanon (Sept 20, 1984)
1984 Kuwait Airlines Flight 221 hijacked to Tehran – American passengers murdered (Dec 3, 1984)
1985 Hijacking TWA Flight 847 hijacked to Beirut (June 14, 1985)
1985 Hijacking cruise ship Achille Lauro, wheelchair-bound American is thrown overboard & killed (Oct 7, 1985)
1986 Bombing Berlin disco frequented by US servicemen (April 5, 1986)
1988 Bombing Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, 100’s murdered (Dec 21, 1988)
1993 Attempted Assassination of Pres. Bush Sr. during visit to Kuwait (April 14, 1993)
1993 Black Hawk Down: US helicopters shot down in Mogadishu, Somalia, during Operation Restore Hope (Oct 3-4, 1993)
1994 Plot to assassinate President Clinton during visit to the Philippines
1995 Failed Project Bojinka by Ramzi Yousef to blow up a dozen US airliners over the Pacific (end in Jan 1995)
1995 Bombing US military headquarters, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia (Nov 13, 1995)
1996 Bombing Khobar Towers, Saudi Arabia, housing U.S. foreign military personnel (Jun 25, 1996)
1998 Bombing U.S. Embassy, Nairobi, Kenya, Africa (Aug 7, 1998)
1999 Foiled LAX Millennium plot by Ahmed Ressam to bomb Los Angeles International Airport (Ressam was arrested at US/Canadian border)
2000 Failed bombing of USS The Sullivans that was refueling in the port of Aden, Yemen. (Jan 3, 2000)
2000 Bombing of USS Cole in the port of Aden, Yemen, 17 U.S. Navy sailors murdered (Oct 12, 2000 - The USS Cole was not engaged in any combat during this period)
2000 Bombing plaza across from US Embassy, Manila, Philippines (Dec 30, 2000)
2001 9/11 attacks: World Trade Center, Flight 93, Pentagon, 3000+ murdered (Sept 11, 2001)
Stay tuned for Part 2.
This nugget fighter pilot launched September 11, 2001, on what was essentially a kamikaze mission, to take down Flight 93 (the plane that eventually crashed into a field in Pennsylvania). There wasn't time to load ammunition on the jet before it launched. The only weapon was the F-16 itself. Read her compelling story at The Washington Post.
USS New York, LPD-21, was built with tons of steel salvaged from the World Trade Center. She is designed to take terror to the enemy. Her motto: "Never Forget."
Dear Terrorists, an open letter to the terrorists, from a U.S. Navy pilot.
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