9/11, PLUS THREE YEARS
New York Post Editorial
September 11, 2004 -- America, and New York City, today commorate a most horrific event.
At the three Ground Zeros — the World Trade Center site, the Pentagon and the field in Pennsylvania where passengers forced a hijacked airliner to crash short of its target — ceremonies will mark the third anniversary of 9/11.
The day that changed everything.
Indeed, this is now — by presidential proclamation — an annual day of remembrance, Patriot Day.
In Lower Manhattan, the rites will be all too familiar to those who have watched or taken part in previous years: moments of silence at the times of impact and collapse; the mournful recitation of the names of the 2,752 dead; readings by local elected officials.
At dusk, the Tribute in Light — two parallel beams of blue, flashed towards the heavens in eerie remembrance of the missing Twin Tower — will shine.
There's not much more that can be said now that hasn't been said before. The rhetoric may be achingly familiar — but so, then, is the continued pain of the surviving families of those who died in New York that day: passengers aboard the planes; workers in the World Trade Center, and the city's heroic police, firefighters and emergency workers.
Still, New York and the nation forge ahead.
After much delay, the rebuilding of Lower Manhattan is under way. (At the Pentagon — where rebuilding was not bogged down by petty bickering and politics — it's impossible to tell where the planes struck.)
The life of the nation, though indelibly changed, goes on.
As does the War on Terror — aimed at ensuring that America will never suffer another 9/11.
True, that battle has not proceeded the way many thought it might just three years ago. Osama bin Laden remains at large, though al Qaeda has been badly crippled and is no longer well situated to foment Islamic revolution throughout the world.
Afghanistan is rid of its pro-terrorist Taliban government, and the scourge of Saddam Hussein has been removed from the world, replaced by a nascent democracy.
Libya's longtime friend in terror, Moammar Khadafy, apparently has seen the light and renounced his terrorist connections.
And it is the War on Terror that's making the difference.
More than six decades ago, following another murderous attack that took thousands of American lives on a single day, another president of the United States told the nation that a long and difficult struggle was ahead — but that victory was inevitable.
"Always will our whole nation remember the character of the onslaught against us," said Franklin D. Roosevelt.
"No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people in their righteous might will win through to absolute victory. . . . We will not only defend ourselves to the uttermost, but will make it very certain that this form of treachery shall never again endanger us."
Those words, aimed at a different enemy in a different time, apply just as much today.
The struggle continues, the end scarcely in sight.
But America will prevail.
Count on it.