It’s hard to believe that it’s been over a decade now since the World Trade Center fell. Time moves ever forward, and what was once a great psychic scar upon our nation has become just another part of history that the children born on that day now learn in school.
But the inhuman events of September 11, 2001 should, must, never be forgotten. The ghosts of September 11 still haunt us today, and while we are fortunate that we haven’t been hit like that again, the world we live in no is in some ways more dangerous than the one that existed on September 10, 2011.
Even though Osama bin Laden is burning in the deepest pits of Hell, and al-Qaeda no longer exists as it did, the same factors that drove the terrorism of September 11 are still out there. Across the Arab and Muslim world, preachers of hate still find receptive audiences. The Muslim Brotherhood, the entity that was instrumental in informing al-Qaeda, is more powerful then ever. The same group that brought us Ayman al-Zamahiri and Mohammad Atta now runs all of Egypt. And rapidly, the Middle East is falling into tyranny rather than freedom. From Tunis to Tehran, radical Islamist groups are gaining new ground, taking over entire countries, and spreading their ideals across the world.
If there is one consolation to this, it is that when these groups try to lead, they fail. The beliefs of radical Islamism are anti-human. They cannot stand in the real world, and the only way they can survive is through nothing more than naked force. As it happened in Iraq, it may happen elsewhere: the people see what livinig under a violent theocracy is like, and they reject it. But that may be too hopeful.
We owe it to the victims of the September 11 attacks not to forget not only what happened on that terrible day, but to make sure than such atrocity never happens again. We are failing. A new iron curtain falls from North Africa to Central Asia, an iron curtain of radicalism and hatred. The roots of the next September 11 are growing silently right now.
As we remember the dead, let us honor them by not only carrying their names and their lives in our hearts, but by committing ourselves to a better world. On that terrible day eleven years ago, we showed the world that the forces of radicalism were nothing compared to the forces of democracy and freedom. They showed us the worst that humanity was capable of. We showed them the best. They murdered innocents in cold blood. We sent heroes into burning buildings to save as many lives as they could.
We would like to think that freedom will always conquer fear, that democracy will always conquer savagery, that peace will always beat out violence. Those are comfortable illusions for us, but they are only that. The ghosts of September 11 compel us to remember that the world is what we make of it, and that we must carry on in defense of the values that make us who we are.
The ghosts of September 11, 2001 whisper to us today. We should stop and listen.