As our nation reflects this week on the historic tragedy and loss of September 11, as well as the heroism of many individuals and the progress seen this past decade on the war against terrorism, I revised the following article written nearly ten years ago.
Terrorism is a mathematical miscalculation. Terrorism cannot subtract the patriotism that has over time grown deep within the soil of our souls, first planted there by our valiant forefathers. America’s patriotic spirit has a common bond from a common ground of history.
Terrorism cannot add hatred where there is a will to love by people who serve a God of love. Terrorism cannot divide a country that has already overcome division through a civil war. Even our country’s name, the United States of America is a visual and verbal affirmation of the importance we place in unity. The USA’s first two letters are US.
Terrorism cannot multiply one act of violence into many others—as we have proved true in the relative peace experienced the past decade after September 11. Terrorism cannot calculate the way courage always conquers. It has no answers how tears do not dampen democracy, but somehow, instead, irrigate it. Terrorists only have questions as they witness our citizens continue to stand proudly to salute our flag. They cannot silence the Star Spangled banner from being sung, nor take away one star from its splendor. Perhaps they are becoming aware that the events of 9/11 cannot reduce old Glory to a gory story.
Terrorism cannot take into account the strange phenomenon of young children and teens who still choose to be firefighters, healthcare workers, and police officers, even after watching first responders heroically die. Terrorism cannot fraction the way Americans live, nor the way we generously give. They cannot take a rational number of patriots and turn them into an irrational number of bigots. For truth be told, being an American is our nation’s least common denominator, and our greatest common denominator.
Terrorists cannot measure the height that a wounded eagle can gain, nor its ability to fly more majestic than ever before. They cannot estimate the unlimited possibilities of hope, strength, and peace that comes from the Creator of these God-given abilities that have exponential power.
Terrorism cannot total all that is found within America’s resolve, nor the sum of its restoration. Most importantly it cannot factor in fear to a people who have found the formula of faith. Terrorists may change the horizon, but they are powerless to change the power that lies beyond it- the power behind the phrase “One Nation Under God”.