Thirteen years ago, I had no idea what terrorism was. I had simply never heard the term. In fact, I think I can remember asking my dad on September 11, 2001 what a terrorist was after hearing the term “terrorist attack” used to describe the day’s events. Common sense tells me now a terrorist is one who inflicts terror, but the whole idea was so foreign to me on that awful day that I asked. Then I spent the next two nights sleeping on a pallet on my parents’ bedroom floor at the age of 21.
I suppose I lived a very sheltered life in my first twenty-one years, because I now realize there are parts of the world where terrorism is commonplace and children are raised with the real threat of terror at any given moment. Thankfully, my childhood was free of this worry. My biggest worry as a child was that Mama would call me back home before I wanted to be finished playing with Jennifer and Johnathan. I got to attend school and play with my friends without ever hearing about beheadings or hijacked passenger planes crashing into buildings. I’m sad that we can’t say the same about the children of today. On September 11, 2001, my sister, Ashley, lived in Bossier City just miles from where Air Force One landed at Barksdale Air Force Base and President Bush made a statement to the nation. My nephew, Caleb, was 1 1/2 at the time. Seth was three. Jacob wasn’t even born. My nephews have been raised in a world where terrorism and the threat of it is a reality. Their earliest memories probably all came after 9/11/01. This makes me sad.
Bin Laden orchestrated the deaths of nearly 3,000 people doing nothing more scandalous or offensive than going to work or flying across the country for a business trip or vacation. Eleven years later, four Americans were killed in an attack on Benghazi. In the past few weeks, ISIS has beheaded two Americans and seems to be more and more emboldened to commit more barbaric acts. Well, I say they’re emboldened, but they’re still hiding behind their masks. Is there really such a thing as an emboldened coward? That seems like an oxymoron.
These terrorists are serious. They hate Americans and they want us dead. They’re not “JV” as President Obama previously labeled them. The Mexico/United States border situation is a joke and ISIS could send their jihadists across that border far too easily. (Jihad – another word I did not know until I was an adult.) We are inviting terror on our own soil again. September 11, 2001 was a sucker punch; this is entirely different. We’re rolling out the red carpet. We can’t be surprised when heinous acts start happening on American soil. The lack of leadership in this country is astounding and embarrassing. This terrorist group must be taken seriously. We are not dealing with reasonable people here, and if we aren’t careful, it’s going to be kill or be killed before we know it. Our President needs to discover his backbone and let our strong, honorable military resolve this problem once and for all. Just get it done. Don’t play around with them or try to pacify them. Put an end to them. Destroy them.
We can’t go back to a time when terrorism isn’t real to us. I would imagine everyone who was over the age of eight or ten likely remembers where they were on September 11, 2001. It was a day that showed there was true evil in the world to those of us who had never really encountered it. I pray that our leaders will do everything in their power to prevent something horrible like that from happening again. If we close our eyes really tight and try to ignore them, they don’t disappear. They’re still there. We have to stop these terrorists in their tracks. The grownups in the room need to actually be the grownups in the room and make the right decisions, so maybe, just maybe, the kids can be carefree kids again.