Twenty-five Years Ago

Twenty-five years ago, many of us turned on our TVs or radios to news that there had been a bombing at the World Trade Center. Islamic terrorists drove a rented van filled with explosives into the parking garage under the towers and, not long after, our world changed. Except we didn’t really understand how much of a change and wouldn’t for years to come. That change still resonates through our lives and yet, for many of us, we have forgotten that snowy day in 1993 NYC.

In some ways, its understandable. A quarter of a century has passed since that day. But it’s more than that. Since that day, we’ve seen so many instances that have been termed “national tragedies”. We’ve seen the Oklahoma City bombing. School shootings. Nightclub attacks. But, most of all, we’ve suffered the tragedy of 9/11. In the face of that terrible day, it is understandable so many have forgotten about the 1993 bombing. The scope of damage, death and injury paled in comparison to 9/11. However, that failure needs to be corrected and we need to stop for a few moments today and remember the six people, including a woman who was one day away from beginning her maternity leave, who lost their lives. We need to remember the 1,000 or so who were injured. We need to remember their loved ones and friends. Most of all, we need to ask why we are still involved in the so-called war on terrorism. Shouldn’t we have already ended that war, and decisively?

I get not wanting to go to war. That should be the last resort. The first half of the 20th Century was rife with wars the United States was part of. After World War II, the nation was tired of conflict. Our politicians recognized it. So, instead of going to war, we began “policing actions”. Then came the idea that war could and should be “clean”. Our commanders found their hands tied because they were being held to standards the enemy wasn’t. If the enemy hid in the middle of a town, if they used human shields, we could do little because collateral damage was no longer accepted, much less allowed.

Don’t get me wrong. The idea of killing innocents is abhorrent. But the enemy knows that. It knows we are “civilized” enough to do everything possible to avoid collateral damage. So they hide in churches and schools. They use children to lure in our soldiers or even kill them. Our own policies have cost U. S. lives and that is something we have to remember.

But what is worse is the attitude that has permeated Capitol Hill for far too long. That attitude is one where we don’t go in and finish the war. We push back until the enemy is on the ropes and then we withdraw, letting them slip away into the night. There they lick their wounds and plot and plan. Sure, we’ve managed to “defeat” some of the enemy but it has been too few and it took too long.

As the mother of a son who is active duty military, the last thing I want is for us to find ourselves once more at war. I’m talking boots on the ground, commanders given the freedom to do what is needed to finally take the fight to the enemy and to defeat them once and for all. But, when you look back at the last 25 years, one thing is very clear — whether we like it or not, we have been at war all these years. It’s been a slow, drawn-out war. A war of attrition, in many ways. Except we aren’t the ones wearing down the enemy. It has been the other way around and, helping in this erosion of public confidence in our military and its leaders, has been the media and too many of our representatives in Washington.

I’m tired. I’m tired of our politicians not acting in our nation’s best interest. I’m tired of seeing our military disrespected by so many in Washington. I’m tired seeing our military being sent into a fight but not being allowed to finish it.

How many more of our own civilians will have to die before our politicians realize we can’t play nice with those who want to destroy our nation and all it stands for?

For now, let’s remember those six souls who lost their lives 25 years ago in the first terrorist attack on the World Trade Center:

  • John DiGiovanni, age 45, a dental products salesperson.
  • Robert “Bob” Kirkpatrick, age 61, Senior Structural Maintenance Supervisor.
  • Stephen Knapp, age 47, Chief Maintenance Supervisor, Mechanical Section.
  • Bill Macko, age 57, General Maintenance Supervisor, Mechanical Section.
  • Wilfredo Mercado, age 37, a receiving agent for Windows on the World¬†restaurant.
  • Monica Rodriguez Smith age 35, a secretary, who was seven months pregnant.

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