Skip to comments.The pain stays, the fight goes on
Posted on 09/11/2012 3:08:46 AM PDT by knighthawk
In the days immediately following the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, many assumed that it would be difficult to lure people back to downtown Manhattan either to live or work. Today, there are more people living downtown than ever before. As people return, small businesses return to serve them.
The twin towers were attacked twice by Islamic extremists. Americas financial center will always be a target. Thats what makes the resurgence of lower Manhattan all the more impressive. We have demonstrated the resiliency thats one of the greatest defenses against Islamic extremist terrorism.
Take a walk in Manhattan below Canal St. The bustling shops and crowded streets are testimony to the spirit of a strong democracy.
On 9/11, we looked at all of the death and destruction and wondered, Why? What were the terrorists hoping to achieve? We know they cant defeat us militarily. So what was the point of creating such pain?
There are no easy answers.
Ive devoted a lot of thought and study to what motivated the terrorists and what motivates those who follow in their footsteps. Theyre insane, but theyre not crazy there was a motive for the attack. It was carefully planned to undermine our political, military and financial institutions, with the idea that success against those targets would undermine our willingness to stand up for our way of life.
As time has passed and our government has grown very effective at thwarting further strikes, a very natural thing has occurred. People tend to forget. As indelible as that day remains for the people who experienced it firsthand, it is understandable that memory fades and Sept. 11 becomes like Pearl Harbor, a day consigned to our history.
That is a mistake. The fact is, this isnt over. We dont have the luxury of forgetting about it.
The forces that planned and executed the attacks on Pearl Harbor were vanquished. After World War II, peace treaties were signed and alliances were forged durable, productive alliances. The same cannot yet be said for all those who planned and executed the attacks of 9/11.
A lot has been made over the words War on Terror. But whether we call it a war or not, they do. And they continue that war. The many thwarted strikes in the past 11 years demonstrate that the same motives of 2001 are very much alive today.
As we look at a Middle East where former allies are falling under the sway of radicals (Egypt) and old enemies are becoming bolder and more dangerous (Iran), we cannot allow ourselves to grow complacent. In Syria, dozens of innocent people are killed every day by a tyrannical lunatic. We owe it to the victims to remain vigilant in the face of such evil.
For me, the story of Sept. 11, 2001, has always been about unimaginable evil being defeated by enormous good. The love and resolve and strength shown by Americans on that day and in the months that followed were as stunning to behold as the attacks themselves.
Nowhere were those traits on clearer display than by the first responders who rushed into those buildings. Growing up with five uncles in uniform four cops and a firefighter these guys were my real-life heroes from my earliest days. When I became mayor and got to see their quiet acts of daily valor, my respect for their service only grew.
My Uncle Rudy died this spring. He served the city as a police officer for more than 25 years. On his very last day on the job, he won a medal for helping rescue someone who was trying to commit suicide on the Brooklyn Bridge. At age 17, Uncle Rudy had signed up for the U.S. Navy and saw action in the Pacific during the Second World War.
This will be the first Sept. 11 without Uncle Rudy. Its a great personal loss to me, but theres something very universal in it. Were losing the people from the Greatest Generation, people who fought and won the Second World War. Their institutional memory is enormously important to our ability as a people to continue to fight for the principles we value.
We must educate our young people so that we pass on the kind of strength we saw in World War II and right here in New York City 11 years ago.
The steely resolve we witnessed in America on Sept. 11, 2001, didnt just happen by accident. It came from being the descendants of the generation of people that survived the Great Depression and won the most dangerous world conflict. Thats who we must remain.
Giuliani was mayor of New York.
Thank-you FOREVER America’s Mayor Rudy Guilliani for that wonderful reflection on this dark and difficult day in the life and history of the United States.
Thank you for posting this Knighthawk. Although we live in the Hudson River Valley about 2 1/2 hours north of NYC - one of our daughters attends Pace University in lower Manhattan. She is a junior working towards a BFA in acting. She absolutely loves lower Manhattan and we have come to love it as well from visiting her. It is a very special place indeed, and I grew up in western New York State and never would have realized the incredible and fabulous unique energy to be found in lower Manhattan until I was actually there. Also, my late father’s name was Rudolf (Rudy) so the story about the uncle also resonated with me. Pray for NYC today - it is a beautiful cloudless day exactly like 9/11 was and post traumatic stress could easily be triggered.