Standing On Another’s Shoulders
© Copyright 2011 Susan Stamper Brown
“If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants.” Isaac Newton
It seems like only yesterday when crowds filled streets across America waiving hand-scripted signs vowing they would “Never Forget” the atrocities wielded against America by al-Qaida and Osama bin Laden on September 11, 2001.
With American flags flying everywhere, it seemed the patriotism of yesteryear had been revived from an extraordinarily long sleep and the deep partisan divide resulting from the 2000 presidential election was temporarily patched by a bond of brotherhood.
Many forget the gruesome scenes witnessed that day – when some Americans made an unimagined choice as to how they would die that morning. Some chose skull-splitting skyscraper-to-sidewalk jumps, while others chose to stay in the towers only to be charred alive in a steel-melting inferno. Some chose to sit and silently pray while others chose to say “Let’s roll” and fight the Islamic extremists on a plane destined to crash and burn.
While the stench and smoke rose from the human infirmaries, the skies were painted a charcoal gray as a black cloud of grief settled within most American’s hearts.
Our enemy celebrated.
As we bandaged our wounds, time seemed to stand still in many ways. The sun continued to rise and fall, the seasons changed, and we were forced to move forward – although it seemed inappropriate. It takes God-given grace to make it to the other side of grief, and those who survive it are permanently changed. An acquaintance of mine once said, “Broken hearts never heal, they just stop bleeding.”
Almost ten years has passed since that tragic day and most Americans have fallen into a routine of normalcy, having become accustomed to new things like bellicose airport security checks, the Patriot Act and a Homeland Security Department.
Once again, history has done what she seems to do best by repeating herself, but this time with a twist of poetic justice – as Americans line the streets to celebrate justice rightly served to bin Laden at the hands of our brave military and the intelligence community who have given themselves sacrificially day-in and day-out since September 11, 2001.
Bin Laden’s death does not represent the end of a war, but rather it is the end of a chapter of a book with pages yet to be written. Information continues to unfold that ostensibly connects the dots backward to the enhanced interrogation – of September 11, 2001 mastermind and Guantanamo Bay detainee, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed – performed in CIA prisons under George W. Bush’s watch – that directly led special operations forces to the Pakistan compound.
With the Guantanamo Bay detention facility still in operation, it is obvious the Obama administration has matured in its ideological views, and one can only hope the Obama doctrine will continue to evolve to also include the adoption of carefully executed and monitored enhanced interrogation procedures.
Although the Obama administration deserves credit for having the guts to execute the dicey decision to take out bin Laden, it cannot solely claim victory without also legitimizing the validity of actions taken by his predecessor.
The last chapter on the war on terror will be written when the enemies of America also join bin Laden’s fate and, as Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote, the “world will soon forget you…when you are thus numbered with those who have no part in all that is done under the sun, when in the places where your foot was familiar it is no more known and all trace of you is obliterated as tho’ it had never been, shall you also forget as you are forgotten.”
© Copyright 2011 Susan Stamper Brown. Susan’s weekly column is nationally syndicated exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.