It seems that America is forgetting its commitment to defeat terrorism. This week, a terrorist who was involved in planning and carrying out the August, 1998 U.S. embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania was acquitted on 284 charges, and found guilty on only one–damaging U.S. property. It seems odd to the average American that a terrorist could be found guilty of destroying government property, yet not guilty of killing those who died in the building which he destroyed. Americans should be enraged by this. Yet, how many of them are even aware of it?
But this is a symptom of a larger disease; a disease that is deadly and tends to spread slowly–apathy. Apathy in war is fatal. Always. While it is desirable that we return to our lives and not be intimidated by the terrorist threat, that is much different than forgetting and going on our way or pretending it doesn‘t exist. There are men who continue to battle and give their lives in places around the world to keep us safe from danger. And the only time America seems to recognize this is on a holiday, or when a horrible piece of news reaches us from that battlefield.
When, reader, was the last time you prayed for our troops and their families? When was the last time you displayed your flag outside? When was the last time you sat silently and recited the Pledge of Allegiance, or hummed the Star Spangled Banner? When was the last time you looked through the obituaries to see if any soldiers have died recently? When last did you write a letter or send needed items to our troops overseas? When was the last time you rallied your neighbors to support this “task that does not end”? When was the last time you explained to your children why we fight, or took them to a military cemetery so that they could see with their young eyes the price men have paid for their liberty?
I hope that many of you can remember. But I fear that many of you do not. Next week is Thanksgiving. How many of you will join hands with your family and give praise for the many men and women who are sacrificing their precious holiday time with family to protect yours? This year, as every year, we should be thankful for those golden Americans who rise above all others and accept the mighty and endless undertaking of replicating the stoic determination displayed by our forefathers who began this holiday.
One lawyer on television this week advocated freeing the U.S. embassy bomber, and all terrorists housed in Guantanamo. While this insanity is checked by the millions of Americans who will not stand for such an outrage, we must realize and understand that this mentality–this weakness–is present among us. Memory fades, and the scenes of death and horror are naturally the first that the mind pushes out. But at our own peril.
May our fellow citizens, our leaders, our judges, and any and all who hold life and liberty sacred prove it every day–not just on Veteran’s Day or Memorial Day. Every day. For every soldier.