Monday, September 12, 2005

Maybe people haven't all changed

I have said many times before in my life that people (all people) must have changed since the 1940's. I read accounts of World War II frequently. Pretty much any piece of material that I can get my hands on. One thing that all accounts agree on is that the young men and women of the United States were lying and cheating to JOIN the fight. The Marines' recruiting slogan at the time was 'First to Fight'. That encouraged recruits to join by the hundreds. Stop and think of that for a moment. The idea of getting into the war SOONER caused hundreds to join the most fearsome fighting force in the world.

Fast forward to my generation, and our war. We have people lying and cheating to get OUT of during their duty. We have reservists' parents fighting to bring their kids home from the battle they signed up to fight.

I have always felt that something is missing in the youth of America, and it is that sense of duty and honor and commitment to an ideal that is higher and stronger than any one person's life.

Today, the fourth anniversary of 9/11, I am watching a documentary that details the actions aboard United Airways flight 93. The documentary includes recordings of the phone calls made by the passengers and crew of the flight to their loved ones at home.

It also includes the phone call which has changed my opinion of the average American. My father includes a quote in his emails. It says 'Are you ready? Let's Roll.' The man that said that then led a charge against the armed terrorists who had taken control of their aircraft. The passengers on that flight had learned that they terrorists planned to use their aircraft as a guided missile.

Those incredibly brave men and women then fought back. They fought back for their families at home, they fought back for freedom. They fought back because they were Americans, and by God, Americans don't sit idly by and watch innocent people be killed. They knew if they didn't do something, then an uncounted number of innocents would be murdered. They fought back for all of us. They fought back for America.

Those amazing men and women struck our first blow in the War on Terror. They have shown that America still has a backbone, and that we will NOT stand for the murder of innocents, and we WILL defend our citizens and our way of life by whatever means necessary, even if that means paying the ultimate sacrifice.

I only wish that there was something I could do to ease the suffering of the loved ones that were left behind. All I can do, however, is make sure that we continue to honor their memory. I will never forget, and I will do all I can to ensure that others remember. The things we forget are the things we are bound to relive.

Thank you for your sacrifice, and for restoring our faith in America, and its people.


ksh said...

How does fighting a war that we don't believe in equate to an ideal higher and stronger than one person's life? We went to war with Iraq because....1) they were harboring terrorists after 9/11 = totally without foundation...or 2) because they had weapons of mass destruction which they were ready and able to use against the US = again totally without foundation...or 3) to bring democracy to them = which they didn't ask for and don't believe in. We went to war so that a small group of very wealthy American oil barons could gain control of Iraq's oil - which we haven't been able to do either. We went to war based on lies repeated over and over to the American public. We instituted a war in another country to force our way of life on them contrary to their beliefs, their culture, their desires - now doesn't that sound like democracy? We started a war we can't finish - can't win. When we finally do leave, Iraq will fall into total and complete civil disorder. Look and read your history books on VietNam - it is a much closer parallel than WWII. Many Americans fled to other countries during that war to avoid fighting a war that they did not believe in - and history has proven them right - not to mention that all those American men and women were pardoned later as a result of the American public bringing pressure to bear on their elected officials. Thousands of American lives were saved by the American people speaking out against a war that was wrong on every level.

If you had spent your entire life guarding and protecting your child, you might also be fighting to bring that same child home before they were killed. And what is wrong with fighting to bring your child home safe and alive?When did it become UnAmerican to voice dissent? When did people become traitors to the US if they voiced their disagreement with the government? Isn't that the basis of democracy? Isn't that why those brave men and women fought in WWII? And in fact, didn't those men and women fight because AMERICANS and American property were attacked?
I agree wholeheartedly that all those who died during the 9/11 attacks are heroes...all of them, not just those who fought the terrorists in an airplane. I agree we should all remember them and honor them. I do not agree that what happened to them and all other Americans on 9/11 equates to a reason to invade another country that had nothing to do with those attacks and put AMERICAN lives at risk.

Courtney said...

I don't understand why Cullen's blog entry about how honorable these men and women were, had to turn into a political debate. "How does fighting a war that we don't believe in equate to an ideal higher an stronger than one person's life?" - I don't think you should say "we" - you don't know the opinions of "we". We didn't go to war so that "a small group of very wealthy American oil barons could gain control of Iraq's oil". That is something that lefty activists made up so that they could have SOMETHING to bitch about. Why is it that so many anti-war left activists have to minimize what happened on 9/11 to try and push their bullshit on everyone else? I'm sure that if one of your family died in the 9/11 attacks, your stance would be slightly different. Can you honestly say that if someone you loved was murdered (and every single one of those people were) you would not want everything done that was humanly possible, to hunt down and KILL whomever was responsible? As well as ANYONE who decided to help them?

I understand that you want your children to survive, and you try to guard them to the best of your ability, but instead of making your child's commitment to their country minimal by protesting what they sacrificed everything for, why don't you support them?

But, then, you wouldn't have anything to bitch about. Go back to your CNN.

Cullen Waters said...

Actually, I wasn't talking about the war in Iraq at all. When I spoke of the war on terror, I was speaking primarily of our operations in Afghanistan, where we went and removed some of the most righteously evil people that have ever cursed the face of the earth.

At no time did I speak of a political point or position. The point of my entry was to honor fallen heroes, not start a debate about whether we should or should not have invaded Iraq. I don't have enough information to answer that question, and neither does anyone I know. Personally, I don't think that people should second guess the decisions of a wartime commander, unless they have seen all of the classified material that was presented to the government before the decision was made, and have put themselves in harm's way defending our country before. Unless you have been in the situation, you cannot understand the decision making process that lead to the tactical and strategic decision to invade.

Again, the point of this entry was not to begin a political debate. Most of the people that know me know that I don't engage in political or religious debates. I don't think that most people are equipped to have calm, rational discussions of the political or religious position, without getting upset and taking things personally. So, I would NEVER start a political discussion on my blog, particularly not about the most contended political decision of my lifetime. People made up their minds about whether we should or shouldn't have gone to Iraq a long time ago, and further discussion is pointless. No one is going to change their mind at this point.

When I spoke of higher ideals, I was talking about the heroes of Flight 93 choosing to risk their lives, trying to save the lives of strangers on the ground, rather than keeping quiet and trying to stay below the radar. Those incredibly brave men and women decided to take up arms against terrorists, whom they watched murder people. They did that for everyone on the ground in Washington, DC that day. They did it for their families and friends. When the choice came to be quiet and minimize their personal risk, or stand and fight, accepting that they may die in the attempt, they made the incredibly brave decision to fight.

I don't think that parents of reservists should be fighting battles to bring their children home from deployments. Their kids made a choice and a commitment to defend this country, against all enemies. They further swore to obey the orders of those officers appointed above them, and the President of the United States. I clearly remember taking that oath, and I didn't do so lightly. When people try to get out of their duty, which they willingly signed up for, it cheapens the commitment of those of us who were willing to do what was necessary. These kids were not drafted. They chose to join the military, and they knew the risks when they joined up.

I didn't want to engage in political discussion on this day, which should be a day of remembrance and solemnity. I want and need to draw attention to the fact that several Americans made the choice that differentiates America from every other country in the world, and upheld the reputation that has made us the greatest country on earth. They reaffirmed my belief and trust in the average American, which was waning.

Today, and every year on this day, from now on, I think we should take a minute to remember those who were lost in the unwarrented, cowardly attacks on our country. We should save a special place in our heart for those heroes who placed innocent American lives above their own, when the chips were down.

Cullen Waters said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
ksh said...

Sorry. I thought the point of a BLOG was to exchange ideas and points of view - to open dialog on a subject. However, having been called "lefty activists" and "anti-war left activists" and told I "push their bullshit on everyone else?" and told once again that because I don't support a specific action that I am not supporting my child or my country.... I will not post again

Emily said...

Well said Cullen.