Steve Feldman
Steve Feldman

The September 11, 2001 Attacks – 20 Years Later

There will be a lot of “remembering” taking place on Saturday. It will be the 20th anniversary of the Islamist attacks against America on September 11, 2001. On that date, nearly 3,000 Americans were murdered by Muslim fundamentalists who despised (and continue to despise) America and Western Civilization — otherwise known as Judeo-Christian values. Many, many Americans have died since that day as a result of those attacks due to exposure to chemicals and conditions as they tried to rescue occupants of the World Trade Center Towers or the Pentagon. Still others were victims of life-altering injuries or medical conditions. Still more Americans in uniform were killed and seriously wounded pursuing the perpetrators of the attacks, and those who dispatched them and who wanted to emulate them with more attacks and more plots of additional attacks. May the memory of each victim be for a blessing.
Many people have a lot to say and write about that day, that date, that period and today. There is evidence of that need to recall, or vent, or caution everywhere. I also feel such a need.
Though I did not lose any loved ones in the attacks, nor in the rescue and recovery efforts, nor in the ongoing and continuing war against our enemies, each year the anniversary and the days surrounding it are especially emotional with feelings of sadness, frustration and anger. I visited Ground Zero numerous times and was briefly in the makeshift morgue near the site; I have been to the Pentagon after the attack there; I have been to Shanksville multiple times to see both the organic memorial established immediately after the impact of the Flight 93, and again to see the antiseptic government memorial that replaced it.
I have seen many of the recollections and articles and columns that dot the internet as well as many memes in my Facebook newsfeed. So many pledges to “never forget” or to “remember.” So many pledges not backed up by deeds and actions to try to ensure that it (nor anything like it) can ever happen again in/to our nation or to any of our allies.
Who knows how many people bearing nothing more than box cutters have walked into the country recently? How many who learned to take off and fly but not how to land an aircraft? How many have surveilled reservoirs and chemical plants and other strategic sites?
How many under age 25 know what happened that day, the days (and centuries) leading up to that day and in the years that followed – right up through to today?
What are the rest of us doing to make sure that they are taught the facts rather than a spin or revision?
How many of the rest of us – who watched on TV or were cocooned in their homes — remember who carried out the attacks and why?
Iran, the largest state sponsor of terrorism and whose leadership and masses of people routinely chant “Death to America!” is on the cusp of nuclear-weapons capability. Our government rewards them and our masses look on silently and impassively.
Russia and China, who aid and abet terrorists and murderers who mean us harm grow in strength and influence while isolationists here believe and assert that America should not be “the world’s policeman” – perhaps thinking that Russia or China will be more humane?
We demand an end to “forever wars” without our enemies and adversaries agreeing – somehow thinking that if we stop fighting back then they will leave us alone. Pretty crazy!
So we remember. We pledge. We shed a tear or two. We boast. We pray – we had better pray. But we must commit to deeds and actions – deeds and actions that will make an actual difference (sorry folks, rallies and memes rarely do!) lest we have more funerals, more memorials, more regrets. G-d forbid!
About the Author
Steve Feldman's first taste of Israel was in January, 1991 as the nation prepared for what would become the Gulf War and then a week's worth of Scud missiles. He is the executive director of the Zionist Organization of America's Greater Philadelphia Chapter and spent more than two decades as a newspaper reporter.