In the years since 9/11, we have often heard it described as the day that America lost her innocence. It was the day that we were violated on our own soil, the day that we were made to face the reality that there are those in this world who want us dead simply because we are American.
The truth is that we are no longer innocent; instead, we are simply, truly, willfully ignorant.
We watched aircraft filled with hundreds of people slam into buildings, and we watched those buildings crumble to the ground, killing thousands more…but today, we whine that we want more free stuff. We watched an egomaniac take credit for it and promise many more attacks, and yet we allow the government to leave our southern border wide open so they can come in. We watched men and women show us what it really means to be an American; we watched them go back into the inferno to save others over and over. We watched them give themselves, their futures, their lives; yet today many Americans complain that we are still talking about Benghazi because really, what difference does it make?
There was a time when it would have made all the difference in the world.
We were once the most respected and feared nation the modern world had ever seen. To fight us meant certain defeat, to be us meant liberty and the ability to live freely, in a safe place where hard work and determination meant something. We were the land of the intrepid homesteader and the Rough Riders, the home of people who lived and died by a belief system never before seen on this earth. Our flag was more than a piece of cloth; it was a symbol of everything we believed in, everything that we were willing to bleed and die for—not just for ourselves, but for generations to come. That was our birthright and our duty, and we took it so seriously that to serve in the defense of our country was something to be respected; to die in her defense was the pinnacle of honorable acts.
Thirteen years after we watched our countrymen perish—and even now as some of the best of us perish daily—we are a caricature of the proud and invincible nation we once were. We spend our time navel-gazing and asking why the government doesn’t give us more free things. We live on social media, passing around cat pictures and stupid videos and looking for ways we can gratify whatever want of the moment we have.
We read TMZ because we actually care what dress Beyonce wore to some idiotic function, and the biggest news story for days is an actress who had nude photos of herself released. We are obese and diseased, nearly completely unable to even care for ourselves, let alone defend ourselves. Instead we have abdicated that responsibility to the government, who is all too happy to provide. All it costs is your liberty, your pride, your very identity as a free person.
We do these things because we never learned the most important lesson from 9/11: It can happen here, and it is our job to ensure it doesn’t. Not the government. You and me.
Even military service is now nearly a joke. Where the armed forces once worried about two things—killing people and breaking things—it now worries about putting on a good drag show and whether soldiers are getting to choose their gender. It is concerned with social experiments and not angering the enemy we are supposed to be eradicating. We even let the enemy serve within our ranks, and then when they do what the enemy does, we don’t even have the balls to call it what it is. A man told me the other day that he had served in the Marines but he was quick to qualify his answer. “I didn’t do anything hateful or murderous, I promise.” I was both disgusted and saddened at the idea that an American Marine would EVER feel as though he needed to say those words in relation to his service.
We were told very plainly, by an enemy that embodies the worst of what mankind is capable of, that they will stop at nothing to murder us all, and yet we welcome them. We tell ourselves that they don’t really mean it, that they need to be understood and that it’s really our own fault that they don’t like us. We have allowed ourselves to be shamed into accepting our own demise. They murder babies, behead our citizens, and rape and pillage their way across the globe, and we shrug. It won’t happen here.
Even those who call themselves patriots are mostly nothing but keyboard warriors. When you tell them that they need to step up, to be loud, to arm themselves and be willing to do what is necessary to stop the threat, they disappear. They want to be quiet, to “stay off the government list,” to “be left alone to raise their kids.” One man told me that “I just really think we need to lay low.” Later that day he posted several fiery links on Facebook. Rise up for liberty, he said. Indeed.
Todd Beamer’s rallying cry of “Let’s roll!” has morphed into “Put your head down and don’t make waves.” We have become serfs to a government we fear, and slaves to an ideology we are told we must respect—even though they plan to wipe us off the earth. Never mind that our government seeks our total subservience, and is willing to use their assets and their resources to destroy anyone and anything who gets in their way. Let’s post more pics of our food. Let’s take more selfies. Let’s brag about how awesome our life is—completely oblivious to the fact that we live in transparent cages, our every move known to people whose only job is to make sure we don’t say or do anything to upset their plans.
If we are to honor those who died on 9/11, then we need to do better than this. We owe Todd Beamer more than that. We owe Rick Rescorla and a thousand others from that day. We owe the unnamed men inside the Tomb of the Unknowns. We owe the men who stood in a room in Philadelphia two hundred years ago and gravely admitted that there was no other choice but to fight. We owe a debt that we cannot hope to repay, except to purchase another generation of freedom for our children.
We owe your grandfather, who spent four years in Europe so you could be free. We owe your uncles and cousins. We owe your brothers and sisters and sons and daughters, who gave their limbs and lives—and sometimes their sanity—only to come home and see that none of you even care that they did it.
It does not matter what you believe about the cause of 9/11. It does not matter what you believe about who was responsible. What SHOULD matter to you is that someone wanted to scare us, to enslave us, to break us—and in the face of that naked threat, we have no choice but to stand. It doesn’t matter if we stand against hordes of animalistic men…or Stasi-like government agencies.
The enemy is here. They are all around us. If we do not face this threat, then it was all for naught. Texans say “Remember the Alamo,” not because we lost, not because it was a painful defeat, but because we refused to give up, because we fought to the death. Because as long as there was still breath, there was duty, and liberty, and hope. Because that’s what Americans do.
We fight to the death.
Remember 9/11. For liberty.
(Originally written for Victory Girls on 9/11/2014. Edited slightly for this year.)
Kit Lange is a USAF veteran and freedom activist. She has a bachelor degree in Counterintelligence and is working on advanced degrees in Criminal Intelligence and Criminal Justice. She blogs at The Patrick Henry Society (and formerly at Victory Girls).
Used by permission. Published September 11, 2015 at The Patrick Henry Society.