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FW: We'll go forward from this moment
From: "Stafford, Todd" <Todd.Stafford () wwireless com>
Date: Fri, 14 Sep 2001 09:16:35 -0700
It's my job to have something to say.
They pay me to provide words that help make sense of that which
troubles the American soul. But in this moment of airless shock when
hot tears sting disbelieving eyes, the only thing I can find to say,
the only words that seem to fit, must be addressed to the unknown
author of this suffering.
You monster. You beast. You unspeakable bastard.
What lesson did you hope to teach us by your coward's attack on our
World Trade Center, our Pentagon, us? What was it you hoped we would
learn? Whatever it was, please know that you failed.
Did you want us to respect your cause? You just damned your cause.
Did you want to make us fear? You just steeled our resolve.
Did you want to tear us apart? You just brought us together.
Let me tell you about my people. We are a vast and quarrelsome
family, a family rent by racial, social, political and class
division, but a family nonetheless. We're frivolous, yes, capable of
expending tremendous emotional energy on pop cultural minutiae -- a
singer's revealing dress, a ball team's misfortune, a cartoon mouse.
We're wealthy, too, spoiled by the ready availability of trinkets
and material goods, and maybe because of that, we walk through life
with a certain sense of blithe entitlement. We are fundamentally
decent, though -- peace-loving and compassionate. We struggle to
know the right thing and to do it. And we are, the overwhelming
majority of us, people of faith, believers in a just and loving God.
Some people -- you, perhaps -- think that any or all of this makes
us weak. You're mistaken. We are not weak. Indeed, we are strong in
ways that cannot be measured by arsenals.
Yes, we're in pain now. We are in mourning and we are in shock.
We're still grappling with the unreality of the awful thing you did,
still working to make ourselves understand that this isn't a special
effect from some Hollywood blockbuster, isn't the plot development
from a Tom Clancy novel. Both in terms of the awful scope of their
ambition and the probable final death toll, your attacks are likely
to go down as the worst acts of terrorism in the history of the
United States and, probably, the history of the world. You've
bloodied us as we have never been bloodied before.
But there's a gulf of difference between making us bloody and making
us fall. This is the lesson Japan was taught to its bitter sorrow
the last time anyone hit us this hard, the last time anyone brought
us such abrupt and monumental pain. When roused, we are righteous in
our outrage, terrible in our force. When provoked by this level of
barbarism, we will bear any suffering, pay any cost, go to any
length, in the pursuit of justice.
I tell you this without fear of contradiction. I know my people, as
you, I think, do not. What I know reassures me. It also causes me to
tremble with dread of the future.
In the days to come, there will be recrimination and accusation,
fingers pointing to determine whose failure allowed this to happen
and what can be done to prevent it from happening again. There will
be heightened security, misguided talk of revoking basic freedoms.
We'll go forward from this moment sobered, chastened, sad. But
determined, too. Unimaginably determined.
THE STEEL IN US
You see, the steel in us is not always readily apparent. That aspect
of our character is seldom understood by people who don't know us
well. On this day, the family's bickering is put on hold.
As Americans we will weep, as Americans we will mourn, and as
Americans, we will rise in defense of all that we cherish.
So I ask again: What was it you hoped to teach us? It occurs to me
that maybe you just wanted us to know the depths of your hatred. If
that's the case, consider the message received. And take this
message in exchange: You don't know my people. You don't know what
we're capable of. You don't know what you just started.
But you're about to learn.
- FW: We'll go forward from this moment Stafford, Todd (Sep 14)