This image should live in our minds forever, not the horror we saw this day. The forces of civilization will yet triumph in the battle against ignorance and destruction. The monuments and symbols of our greatness may be attacked and destroyed, but the spirit of those who built and worked in them cannot be. The world is united today, with few exceptions, hearts bleeding for those who lost their lives. Our righteous anger should be given a full venting. Not as a rush to judgement, but in fulfillment of our obligation to ensure that "these dead shall not have died in vain."
A nationwide soul-searching is in order. This dastardly deed may have been an act of religious fanatacism. Or not. But we didn't see it coming, and didn't prepare for it. Along with swift and stern action to punish those involved, we need to examine this complacency. Not only with regard to preparedness for future threats, but also the oppressed peoples of the world and their concerns. Our best long-term defense is to do whatever we can to help ensure the peace, stability, prosperity, and happiness of the rest of the world.
But that may not be enough - since some religious fanatics intrinsically believe that they must destroy us to find their salvation. There may not be room on this planet for both these fanatics AND civilization. So if it's a choice, we must choose civilization. Let's walk the extra mile. Let's give the benefit of the doubt. But in the end, if this stance does not change, let us rain fire down on these fanatics with the same lack of mercy shown to our own people.
Love, dedication, determination, and democratic ideals built this country. Our enemies have dedication and determination. But lacking the other qualities, they will ultimately fail. And what they have done today is to turn workers and ordinary people at the very pinnacle of capitalism into worldwide martyrs. They have also, 60 years after Pearl Harbor, again "awakened the sleeping giant."
With deepest sorrow and regret, I mourn for the families and loved ones of those killed and maimed. I mourn for the soul of our nation. I mourn once again the loss of our innocence. In times like these, we can only find solace in communion with our inner being and the universal spirit. We must also pray that our leaders are inspired to choose the correct course of action.
September 11, 2001