It’s been eight years since terrorists hijacked four airliners with the intent of causing as much mayhem and killing as many people in the U.S. as possible.
Since the day the towers of the World Trade Center crumpled to the ground, a section of the Pentagon was blown up and a plane plummeted into a quiet field in Pennsylvania, Americans across several generations can remember and will recall for generations to come where they were that day.
The attacks against Americans had been building up to that day — from the first attempt at blowing up the World Trade Center to the destruction of the Khobar Towers to the bombings of the embassies in the Horn of Africa and the attack on the USS Cole.
It didn’t take long to oust the Taliban from its grip on Afghanistan, which had been home to countless terrorist training camps. But eradicating the Taliban and Al-Qaeda from Afghanistan and around the world has been a difficult, arduous task.
Yet as former British prime minister Tony Blair pointed out, even the usually jovial and less serious atmosphere of “Late Night with David Letterman,” beating a determined foe means having even more determination.
“I don’t think we can afford to yield in those circumstances,” he said. “Your determination to win has to be greater than your opponents’.”
There really may be no end in sight to the struggle to rid Afghanistan of its terrorist elements. Its culture, social structure and relationships are vastly different from those in the Western world. As successful as some of the military endeavors there have been, changing the landscape of a country that would have to improve to be Third World needs a significant political and economic effort as well.
“It is a menace, and it’s got to be defeated,” Blair said of the radical Islamists who foment global terrorism. “If they could have killed 30,000 or 300,000 (on 9/11), they would have.”
It is into this breach that Effingham County has sent its fathers and husbands, sons and brothers, of the Georgia Army National Guard 48th Brigade.
As we look back on the events of that cataclysmic day eight years ago, let’s not forget the sacrifices of those in uniform, from America to Canada to Great Britain to Korea and Germany and countless other nations, large and small. And let us not let the thoughts and prayers for the members of the 48th Brigade and their families stray from our minds.