On Monday we all watched as the tragedy of 9/11 was relived five years later. Hardly any channel or newspaper didn't mention the anniversary of the horrific attacks.
According to an Associated Press story, 95 percent of the people in the United States remember where they were or what they were doing when they heard about the attacks. I am one of those.
I was sitting at my computer, undoubtedly doing something productive, when I came across an Associated Press story about a plane hitting the World Trade Center. In a way only an idiot like myself could, I made a remark about the air traffic controller needing to put down his bottle so he could fill out an application for a new job. Of course in my defense, nobody at that point knew it was a terrorist attack.
My smart remarks were replaced by disbelief when the second plane hit. As I was interviewing local residents, I remember standing in a grocery store watching people leap to their deaths from windows high above the ground. I remember watching the first tower collapse while talking to veterans at the American Legion. And I remember my anger.
I wanted our government to do something. I felt we had to make a statement that we could not be attacked without repercussions. And at the same time I wanted our government to take any steps necessary to protect us. I was not alone in my ideas as many across the nation wanted the same things.
It's five years later and things have changed. While I haven't always agreed with the government and the choices that have been made, I stand behind them. I wanted action and I have gotten it. However, a lot of the same people who were clamoring for action five years ago, are now complaining because the government has spent so much on the war in Iraq and on terrorism. They complain about the decisions of the government, yet offer no other logical solution. Some even say we haven't done anything to stop the spread of terrorism.
But since the attacks, over $150 million of terrorists assets have been frozen worldwide and over 5,000 suspected terrorists have been captured or killed outside of the United States with help of the CIA. Another 456 people have been charged in U.S. terrorism-related investigations.
At home, the number of FBI intelligence analysts has increased from 1,023 in 2001 to 2,161 today and now there are over 20,281 raw intelligence reports shared within the government, up from zero in 2001.
All of this in an effort to prevent terrorism and protect citizens of the United States.
Yes, its true that there are longer waits to get on an airplane and as a nation we have spent over $432 billion on the war in Iraq and on terrorism. And while the 2,655 deaths of U.S. service men and women is far more than any of us expected, they died for our country, which means they died for you and for me.
Though you may not agree with the decisions of our leaders, remember that the general feeling of the nation after 9/11 was that it was just the first of many attacks our country was going to see. But it has been five years and still no second attack. While there is no guarantee there won't be an attack tomorrow, I am at least comforted to know our government is doing what they can to protect us, even if we don't always agree with everything they do.