Editorial: Keeping a promise
Now that Osama bin Laden is dead, we thought it would be informative to look back to what people said in 2001, reacting to the 9/11 attacks.
Our editorial of September 13, 2001 said: "Terrorists may think America is a fractured society where races, political parties and regions bicker, debate and work against each other … But they will learn something about American will, and might, and how this nation’s diversity, far from being its weak point, is its greatest strength."
President Obama said just about the same thing Sunday night: "On September 11th, 2001, in our time of grief, the American people came together. We offered our neighbors a hand, and we offered the wounded our blood. … We were also united in our resolve, to protect our nation and to bring those who committed this vicious attack to justice ... tonight we are once again reminded that America can do whatever we set our mind to."
President Bush, speaking on the night of the tragedy, said "The pictures of airplanes flying into buildings, fires burning, huge structures collapsing, have filled us with disbelief, terrible sadness and a quiet, unyielding anger. These acts of mass murder were intended to frighten our nation into chaos and retreat. But ... Our country is strong. A great people has been moved to defend a great nation.
"America was targeted for attack because we’re the brightest beacon for freedom and opportunity in the world. And no one will keep that light from shining."
First District Rep. Jo Ann Davis, reacting to the news, said, "Like President Bush said, we will pass this test. These groups have to be shown America won’t take it."
A previously scheduled blood drive was held in Mathews County on 9/11; 327 people from several localities attended to roll up their sleeves to help the wounded. Sheriff Robin Stanaway in Gloucester said he had personnel hoping for a call to help in the disaster areas. Everywhere Americans put aside their personal interests and gave their attention to a greater need.
"Dead or alive," said President Bush. There was quite a period of time before this prophecy could be fulfilled. A decade of change and two wars later, a different president and administration, with the same determination, have kept that promise. The thousands who died all those years ago have been avenged.