And rightly so — especially when it comes to honoring those who were in the military, giving life and limb to serve the nation.
But it’s just as important to look ahead.
Our country has taken dramatic steps to improve the safety of its citizens from terrorists and enemies of all stripes. But nothing can guarantee total security. A dramatic, painful attack could well happen again — what will we do if and when that happens?
For starters, don’t play the blame game, because we’re in this together. Partisan hacks tried to pin responsibility for the last attack solely on the lapses of the George W. Bush administration, or solely on the complacency
of the Bill Clinton administration. In reality, those to blame are the people who planned and carried out the attacks. And while it’s important to understand where our vigilance has failed so we can construct better systems and elect more competent leadership, defending the country is not a partisan exercise.
Second, carefully consider how to go after the attackers, then go after them hard, and with precision. If there are surviving terrorists, find them. Capture the people responsible for plotting and hatching the plan. Make examples, both of the terrorist’s wrongness and the rule of law that makes America an exemplary nation. Whether it’s in a domestic court, tribunal or international court — whatever is warranted by circumstance — ensure those responsible are brought to justice openly and our nation’s dignity upheld.
Third, ensure the safety of the nation while being mindful to not sacrifice the best part of our country in exchange. The strength of America is in its people, guaranteed freedoms and rule of law. As long as those things are held sacred and protected, even in the face of danger and uncertainty, the United States will remain a great nation.
That will be our biggest challenge if another Sept. 11 befalls America: To embrace one another, to stand by our national character, to balance liberty with our country’s security and well-being.
We think this country can rise to that challenge. But we hope it’s a test we never face.