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9/11’s meaning then and now

Today is the 18th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, known as “9/11”.

From October 2001 to October 2003, I worked closely with the National Park Service and with the families of the Flight 93 victims on protecting the crash site, two solid hard-working years, so that it could eventually become a national memorial without worries of losing the physical sense of what the surrounding ground looked like the moment the plane flipped upside down and did a nose-dive into Tim Lambert’s spruce grove.

And for those two years no one ever blamed the victims of 9/11. Nor did anyone try to scapegoat anyone else for 9/11. Solemnly we focused hard on protecting the landscape so that future generations would know and remember not only what happened, but why and by whom. Like a battlefield, which most Americans properly see it as.

However, for a lot of Americans today, the ‘why’ and and ‘whom’ parts of 9/11 are now strangely flipped around.

In a recent conference about 9/11, panelists blamed guns, the NRA, whites, Christians, and a lack of open borders for 9/11. No, I am not making this up. Blaming the American victims of 9/11 is the actual state of mind among many liberal leaders today. At the conference, they refused to mention Islam, Muslim terrorists, or hijacked planes. Instead, they used the event to call attention to their favorite failed policy goals, not to heal the wounded nation or to discuss lessons learned about how to avoid a repeat of 9/11.

And let’s be honest: Open borders will lead to not just one more 9/11, but many more acts of mass terror against Americans. You could fairly argue that the coast-to-coast illegal alien crime wave already is a form of terrorism, or that the liberal policy assault on law enforcement and the resulting mass shootings is a form of terrorism. But what is meant here, and what is the worst, are carefully planned and targeted acts of mass murder. Like what happened on 9/11.

Eighteen years ago 9/11 heightened our awareness. It made Americans feel vulnerable. It taught us that our best intentions and most open-minded policies are seen by most people outside of America as signs of weakness, of decadence, of a lack of willpower to survive, and they were then exploited to our disadvantage. Our federal government at the time properly took revenge on the Taliban and al-Qaeda, mostly hiding in Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan. But then that same government mistakenly tried to implement a repeat of the World War II Marshall Plan, where America re-built the nations we had invaded and occupied. The post-9/11 attempted rebuilding of Iraq and Afghanistan was overly optimistic, because these Muslim countries are not European. They share none of the values or culture of WWII Europe, and they are immune to our culture and values.

And so now, instead of learning lessons from 9/11 and using them to protect America, we have an entire American political party that has inverted 9/11 and turned it into another forum and stage for promoting policies that have zero to do with 9/11 or preventing something similar from happening again.

Today in America, to one political party, the military veterans who fought to protect America by taking the fight to Iraq and Afghanistan are now the threat to America, not orthodox Muslims following the Koran to the letter of the law. And the patriotic friends of those veterans are the threat to America; the religious Christian friends and family of those veterans are the threat to America; and the hunters and target shooting friends of those veterans are also the threat to America.

Everyone but the actual perpetrators of 9/11, and their supporters like US Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, are that political party’s scapegoats for 9/11.

For radical Muslim Ilhan Omar, on 9/11 “Somebody did something.” That’s it, that is her whole take on 9/11, and her political party agrees with her.

And now her political party is coming hard after you and me.

Looks like a whole lot of people missed the lessons-learned part of 9/11. Probably because they don’t care about them. And that right there is the real lesson learned for the rest of us: 9/11 only means something to people who actually care about America staying America.

 

Remembering 9/11

It is tough to square up the religiously-inspired terror attack on America 17 years ago with our national policies since then.

America went through a ridiculous bout of Political Correctness, instead of rational, logical approaches to minimize the risk of something similar to 9/11 happening again. The PC policies placed American at even greater risk. Our porous borders are a symbol that we are still asleep.

Today, political commentator Jamie Glazov was tossed from Twitter, on 9/11, for posting simple ideas about how to protect America.

FakeBook deleted people’s accounts for simply mentioning 9/11.

PC is alive and well and it will only invite more terror attacks like 9/11 on America if we do not adopt a survival attitude.

God bless America and the brave Americans who put up such a fierce fight on Flight 93, and who showed us all how to deal with this scourge.

A Day of Infamy, Fifteen Years Later

Fifteen years ago, on the morning of September 11, 2001, I was sitting in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, just beginning to give testimony on hunting and land conservation issues.

Three minutes into my presentation, our entire room containing 200 people was chased out by the Capitol police, from fear of another attack like had just happened in New York and Shanksville, Pa.

Within weeks I was at the crash site, working with the National Park Service, and I went on to play a central role in shaping the Flight 93 memorial, the heroes of which I often think of.

What irks me is that since that day of infamy, America has become less safe, more politically correct, and less able to talk openly about the single force that created 9/11 (Saudi Arabia, Islam).

Hopefully we get this election right and get our great nation out of the ditch.

God bless America.

Major Conservation Milestones Remind us of Happy Things

Amidst all the present misery, happy reminders float to the top of our consciousness. That America and Pennsylvania have achieved great conservation successes amidst tremendous challenges.

The US National Parks turned 100 this year.

What would America be without our national parks and monuments? These special places define who we are; they are the cultural blood quietly flowing through our national body.  Green, magnificent, beautiful, beyond human abilities, our national parks should be celebrated. Like our own blood, we only see them if we prick the skin to see what is underneath. Go ahead, take a drive and visit a national park; discover yourself.

This spring our family vacationed in Yosemite, and hiked day after day, lusting after photo-perfect landscape views and heavenly skies within our grasp, and without end. Last year it was Sequoia. I remain proud of my contributions to the creation of the Flight 93 Memorial, which has grown up and flown far beyond my 2003 expectations.

Here in Penn’s Woods, the Fish & Boat Commission turned 150 years old this spring. Yes, the PFBC is as old as the first US Civil War, a reminder that even in the often lawless throes of the industrial revolution’s filthy sewage, Americans, namely Pennsylvanians leading the way, valued their clean water and healthy fish stocks.

Mostly innocuous, the PFBC is like the angel in white whispering on our shoulder, reminding us of the good things we should do. Several years ago the agency survived an assassination attempt. Turned out, angel’s voices are too pure for industrial-strength greed and career politicians’ wishes for unlimited power and public wealth.

Also in Penn’s Woods, the Department of Conservation & Natural Resources recently named six new wild areas on existing public land. While wild areas are nice and welcome, waving a magic wand over existing public land and renaming it kind of begs the question: Why is this conservation agency not adding additional new acreage to the public holdings, and then striking a balance with the new designations?

Last week my son and I drove through the heart of Pennsylvania’s state forest complex, up in the northcentral region. Natural gas development arrived there and changed some of the publicly owned landscape in the past nine years. While gas drilling brought much needed cash and energy independence, laudable and valuable results, they came with a price – our public lands bore new scars from industrialization.  DCNR would do the public interest best if it sought to balance impacts on its land with the addition of new acreage purchased from willing sellers. Then the new wild areas would really mean something.

Live on, PFBC, long may you prosper and guard our most basic nourishment, the water we drink.

Live long, national parks, long may you remind us of our best, purest selves.

A Day of Remembrance, a Day of Resolute Determination

Today is the anniversary of the 9/11 Muslim terrorist attacks on America, where the World Trade Towers and the Pentagon were hit with commercial aircraft, and where a determined band of passengers on Flight 93 battled their hijackers, causing the plane to crash well short of its intended destination. That was probably the US Capitol or the White House.

I want to thank the many military personnel, first responders, and other associated public servants who work hard, often at risk to themselves, to keep America free and safe.

Because I played a key role in the creation of the Flight 93 crash site memorial, I am especially attached to that event and to that site. It is a place and a story with which I became closely acquainted, and for several years I worked closely with the Families of Flight 93. I also worked closely with staff of the National Park Service, Somerset County officials and staff, and Wally, the Somerset County coroner. It meant a lot to me to contribute as much as I did to the founding and blueprint for the site. I am pained that the effort was even necessary, because the truth is, the 9/11 attacks should not have even happened.

America was culturally asleep on September 11, 2001, and we remain so even today. Witness the heavily politicized decision to grant a rally permit for a handful of radical Muslims in Washington today, and the curious unwillingness of the same National Park Service to grant a permit to hundreds of thousands of bikers, who wanted to drive through Washington, DC today, in order to commemorate today’s significance.

America faces a real war for its soul, and the battles in this war are fought in small ways: Whether the radical Muslims get the permit to rally on 9/11 in DC, or do the bikers get the permit to rally today in DC. Theoretically, both groups could have their respective events simultaneously. But this administration obviously favors the radical Muslims, and disfavors the flag waving, patriotic bikers.

See what you can do to win one of the small culture battles in your city, county, or neighborhood. Each battle is important. Winning the war is key. Otherwise, the 9/11 terrorists won, and America lost. Make today a day of both remembrance, and a day of resolute determination that America will win.

September 11th, A Day of Remembrance, Reflection & Resolve

September 11th, A Day of Remembrance, Reflection & Resolve
September 11, 2012
By Josh First

September 11th is an American day of national remembrance and reflection. We remember the attacks on our defenseless civilians by Muslim terrorists, who used our freedoms against us on this day.

We reflect on American heroism, an innate trait seen most graphically on Flight 93, now memorialized at the crash site in Somerset County, Pennsylvania (which I had the honor to help create, leading the first two years of real estate protection there with the National Park Service, Somerset County, the local townships, the Families of Flight 93, PBS Coals, CONSOL Energy, the Mellon Foundation, and others, not to mention the many supportive landowners).

Should the American character of inclusiveness be continued in a way that invites these kinds of attacks? An inclusiveness at any and all costs?

Based on his experience in both world wars, British leader Winston Churchill quipped after World War II that the Americans wouldn’t show up to a fight until it was almost too late to win it. Will our generation of Americans languish in our non-judgmentalism, uber-inclusiveness, and moral relativism until it is too late?

The “too late” will be when Iran obtains nuclear bombs, which is in the end-process of happening with an American and European acquiescence that is exactly how the West dealt with Hitler before 1940. Pacifists call this avoidable prelude to widespread death “peace,” but what do they call it after the bombs start going off? They call it someone else’s failure.

Many people believe that those Iranian bombs will be directed at Israel only, but Iran fears and hates America more than Israel. To Iran’s Muslim leaders and most of its citizens, America is the epicenter of everything they oppose. It’s a clash of civilizations that they intend to settle with nuclear bombs and that we currently intend to resolve through endless discussion.

America’s porous borders and inability to fight back against Islamic supremacism at home or abroad mean that at least one Iranian bomb will find its way into a large American city. The devastation and economic fallout will be unimaginable. What if two or three bombs are snuck in, and detonated? Is it “peace” to ignore these questions, and is it “warmongering” to ask them?

The oft-quoted historian George Santayana said “Those who forget history are destined to repeat it,” which in the context of September 11th means that Americans who are forgetting what happened that day, and why, will be surprised the next time we experience a huge domestic attack. The problem is that the next attack will be with a nuclear bomb, maybe several, America may not be able to recover from the damage, and we don’t have to be surprised; we can take steps to stop it from happening.

So on September 11th, the modern equivalent of remembering the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, let us not just recall the pain that we felt, but rather also resolve that it won’t happen again. Let us take the small and big steps necessary to ensure that it doesn’t happen again, the personal ones, the professional ones, and the political ones.

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