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Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016

Sept. 11, 2001, was a day that changed us

Sunday, September 11, 2011

It's hard to imagine it's been 10 years. But it's virtually impossible to imagine how much our world has changed in that decade.

Like so many other events of national significance, we can all remember where we were, what we were doing and how we felt on that September morning 10 years ago.

Working in the newspaper business, we reported the events of that fateful day and, looking back, I think we did a good job with our coverage.

But little did anyone know what changes these events would have on our everyday life.

In our little corner of the world, we are understandably isolated in many ways. But when something of this prominence happens, we adopt a national view. We abandon our rural peace and quiet and try to imagine the horror felt by those in New York and Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C. But in fact, we can only imagine. We weren't there.

I don't for a minute believe our world is safer because of our actions following the events of Sept. 11, 2001. But I do believe we took the measures deemed essential at the time. History may think otherwise.

Even today - 10 long years after that day - it's hard to imagine the destruction, the heartbreak, the lasting hurt.

Have we learned anything from that day? There are those who somehow in some perverse way try to justify the actions of that morning. Sadly, some of those who seek to justify or explain those events are in positions of power in our federal government. We can only hope this anniversary reinforces our determination to defend freedom at any cost, at any place, at any time. If we abandon that single principle, we are doomed as a nation.

Killing in the name of religion is a sick notion. And if that religion condones that killing, then that religion is equally sick.

I seriously doubt any of us will ever feel as safe as we did before Sept. 11, 2001. It would be nearly impossible to block out that tragedy and somehow magically return to a more peaceful time. We can wish all we want. It won't make it so.

Our nation must always condemn those who brought this chaos to our shores. But we must also condemn those who financed and harbored and trained and supported these terrorists. And if it takes reaching halfway around the world to display that condemnation, then so be it.

Because of that tragic day, we now face a different enemy. We face an enemy from within. We face an enemy who has different values. We face an enemy who has the potential to create much more damage than that which struck 10 years ago. We face an enemy who also seeks to change our way of life.

And because of this new threat - from outside or inside - it is up to us to vocally support the basic values that made this country great and those values that will continue to promote freedom.

We pause to remember this tragic anniversary. And we shed a tear not just for the lives lost but for the freedoms that are threatened unless we speak in a unified voice.

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Michael Jensen
Michael Jensen