Remember: Honor the victims of Sept. 11

For 16 years, Americans have gotten an annual reminder that no matter how divided we think we are, extremists around the world think of us as one –a united nation of infidels that must be terrorized and punished for the very freedoms that make us so strong.

On Sept. 11, 2001, those Islamist extremists struck a horrific blow — nearly 3,000 people were killed and more than 6,000 wounded. At the time, the enemy was named al Qaeda, led by Osama bin Laden, and a war was begun. Americans united instantly — the fight was on.

Today, Americans are faced again with the challenge presented because our freedoms allow us to become fractured; fear still lingers in the background as security measures of which we would never have dreamed before the turn of the century are now commonplace (and as much to make us feel better as to offer any real security); and President Donald Trump has announced the U.S. will be sending more troops to Afghanistan and eliminating any artificial timetables for withdrawal.

Meanwhile the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria has emerged from being what President Barack Obama called “a JV team,” to become the new face of the enemy. Last year, Obama’s Counterterrorism Center chief Nick Rasmussen, said the “terrorist threat facing the U.S. and its European allies is ‘bigger, wider and deeper’ than at any point since the Sept. 11 attacks 15 years ago,” according to the Washington Times.

This year, CNN said “U.S. military bases and facilities throughout the world are also on high alert with the upcoming anniversary of the September 11 attacks,” because they know terrorist groups would love to stoke the fear in Americans’ hearts by striking for a second time on a day that has become a national rallying point.

Today, Americans will pause for a moment to remember the terrible events of Sept. 11, 2001, and many will say “Never forget.”

Let us take that to heart today, ladies and gentlemen. Let us honor the memories of the thousands who died by remembering to be the best of what those terrorists — those who would twist the religion they pretend to practice by using it as an excuse for their own hatred and murderous rage — think we are.