Certain moments define a generation. The day Kennedy was shot. The day mankind took its first steps on the Moon. The fall of the Berlin Wall.
For this generation, that defining moment was September 11, 2001.
Nine years ago, our world changed. The post-Soviet peace was shattered with the steel of the World Trade Center and Pentagon. Our world became both smaller and more dangerous. Nineteen Arab men, some educated in the West, inculcated with hate by radicals from Saudi Arabia and Egypt, and trained in Afghanistan demonstrated that the United States was far more vulnerable than many of us feared.
This anniversary, we should not forget that the atrocities that occurred nine years ago were not just attacks against the United States, they were attacks against civilization itself. They were committed by an ideology that rejects the values not only of the West, but of human civilization itself. They stand against reason, against the universal rights of humanity, and against the concept that all human beings are endowed by their Creator with inalienable rights. They are savages, monsters, and nine years ago they showed their true face to the world. Nine years ago, the existence of evil became undeniable.
Our civilization and our values are worth defending. The savages of al-Qaeda asked us a basic question: are you willing to defend your values or will you bend to our radical will?
We should answer with fire.