Sept. 11, 2001

September 16, 2001 11:00 pm

Good morning, America.

Perhaps no instance in our nations history has so shook the security we hold dear, the life, liberty and pursuit of happiness we have continued to pledge our lives, fortunes and sacred honors to preserve for more than 225 years.

In recent years, we have suffered devastating terrorist attacks on our embassies abroad.

We have seen our own turn on us in the very heartland of our nation.

And we have seen a previous and failed attempt by foreign terrorists to topple the twin towers of the World Trade Center.

What has happened today, however, rivals the attack on Pearl Harbor nearly six decades ago as an act of aggression against our nation.

What has happened today tears at the very heart and soul of our nation, as did the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

What has happened today grips us with a fear of unthought of dimensions.

And what has happened today leaves us clutching our children and our loved ones, asking Why? and praying for our countrymen living the images that coax tears from our eyes.

At this moment 8:57 a.m. Pacific Time, Sept. 11, 2001 the details are as vague as they are shockingly evident.

An airplane crashed into one tower of the World Trade Center.

Twenty-five minutes later, a second plane crashed into the other tower.

Within an hour, both towers had crumbled to the ground, shrouding Manhattan in smoke.

A third plane crashed outside Pittsburgh.

And a fourth crashed into the Pentagon, all in an apparent terrorist attack on the United States.

As shock and denial and horror fade, our fists tighten. Someone must pay.

But who?

That is the nightmare of terrorism.

Hold your children and loved ones close for your benefit or theirs and tell them its not a bad dream.

Tell them what?

An eye for an eye?

Turn the other cheek?

The nightmare is we dont know who to blame or how to respond.

The nightmare is we wont wake up and find weve been watching someone Hollywood concoction.

Good morning, America.

What do we do from here but what weve always done?

Carry on. Persevere. And dont let terror imprison you and rob you of your freedom.

We will come to know who did this, and why.

Thats scarce comfort.

But justice will prevail.