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by Peary Perry
Peary Perry
Yesterday, I sat down and started to write a column for this week. As always, I look for something having some sort of humor or satire based upon how we as humans live and interact with one another.

Then it dawned upon me after watching the news and reading the papers, it is September 11th. There doesn't seem to be anything funny about this date, is there?

All of us remember where we were and what we were doing when certain events in our lives happened to occur. If you are as old as I am, you can recall what you were doing on November 22, 1963 when President Kennedy was shot. Most of us can think about the morning the space shuttle exploded and more recently when the shuttle burnt up upon reentry.

No one over the age of five is likely to ever forget how they learned of the 9/11 events as they were taking place. I was having a cup of coffee with my wife, when one of my sons called and said that New York City was under attack and to turn on the television. We did.

The first plane had crashed into the North Tower and we were watching when we saw the second plane hit the South Tower. I recall at first thinking it was some kind of replay of the first plane hitting but just from a different angle, then realized that both towers had been hit. My brain was having a difficult time understanding what was going on. I told my office to turn on the television and pay attention. By the time I arrived at my office, the first tower had fallen followed by the second one. Everyone in our office was crying and I sent them home and told them I would call them later on to determine what to do about the next day.

Like everyone else, we were all in shock and disbelief in what we were seeing and hearing. How could this happen to us? Who would do such a thing to our country? What had gone wrong?

As they say, hindsight is always 20/20 and it certainly was in this case. Over the past five years we have seen the finger pointed at nearly everyone except me, and I bet if they knew where I lived they'd include me as well. No one accepted blame for our failure to know in advance of any plots to do commit such a horrible crime.

In the five years that have elapsed we have seen a great deal of change. Just try to fly on a airplane now and think about how it was six years ago if you don't believe me. Security costs are now a large part of all the budgets of our economy.

So, who is to blame? I propose that we all are in some form or fashion. We live in a free society, but does that help or hurt us in the long run? We have thousands of miles of unsecured borders; does it make sense to examine every piece of luggage at an airport when you can drive into this country from Canada or Mexico in many places? Does it make sense to allow anyone the right to buy explosives on the open market without knowing who the buyer is or at least having some sort of identification?

In the first bombing of the World Trade Building back in 1993, one of the bad guys was caught as he came back to get his deposit on the rental truck used in the bombing. Who cares if the government wants to read my mail or listen to my phone calls. I'd think they would find my stuff pretty boring. My credit card bills and my calls to my kids are hardly stuff that might be construed as being of a terrorist nature.

I love this country, I love the people in this country, but I think we are a far too permissive society in some of the things we do or allow to happen in the name of civil rights and political correctness. As has been said in the past, we have to be right 100% of the time and they (the terrorists) have to do so just once.

Make no mistake about it, we are at war. Perhaps not in the conventional manner such as we dealt with in World War II or others, but we are at war. Any time some nation, political group or faction declares that all, ALL Americans should die, then what else would you call it, except a declaration of war?

Our nation has changed since this time five years ago. Our nation has changed a lot over the past 230 years since it was founded. We have survived those changes and I feel certain that as Americans, we will survive those, which lay before us as well. Our challenge for the future is to never forget the sacrifices of those who have lost their lives at the hands of those who are against what we stand for.

Peary Perry
Letters From North America >

September 14, 2006 column
Syndicated weekly in 80 newspapers
Comments go to www.pearyperry.com
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