Vivid Memories of the September 11 Terrorist Attacks

By Jason Stverak – With memories as vivid as those of yesterday, it’s hard to believe it’s been 12 years since the September 11 attacks. Today, we think again of the thousands who lost their lives in one of the most deadly assaults on freedom we’ve ever seen, and we honor their memory.

It is good to stop and remember today, painful as it may be. We must remember it if we are to continue to enjoy the America we all know and love.

In the flaming wreckage, we saw in stark fashion how some still hate the liberty on which America was founded. While we can understand many of America’s fearful reactions, we cannot let fear compromise our rights and freedoms, or America is already lost. Encroachments, not only from oversees but from our very own government, today are rife on every side. In the name of security, the state threatens our free speech, stifles commerce and travel, and mines the big data of our communications. And one year after last September 11, in 2012, we still do not know all of what happened in Benghazi, Libya.

As we think on what it means to be an American, I pray we do not grow blind to these dangers. Let’s use today to look back not just over the past 12 years, but over the past 250. Let’s remember that even in the face of great suffering and tragedy, we cannot afford to shed – even in part – the principles our founding fathers entrusted to us.

The words of our namesake, Benjamin Franklin, could hardly be more poignant today: “Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

Jason Stverak is president of the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity