Dennis Hastert, the immediate past Republican Speaker of the
House, was skilled in making brief but impressive statements.

He will probably be remembered as much for those quotes
as for his service as Speaker. One of his finest: "What makes
America great is that we can come together during times of
national tragedy."

Great statement, but the problem with it is that Mr. Hastert
was living – or thinking – in the past. It used to be true. It
was true in the Spring of 1836, when Mexican General
Santa Ana led a Mexican army attack on a small group of
Texas soldiers and a few other volunteers at the Alamo, an
old mission in San Antonio, killing every defender in the
battle; names like Travis, Crocket and Bowie among them,
men who entered the All American Heroes Hall of Fame.
Later that year, united in the slogan: "Remember the Alamo!"
Texans under General Sam Houston defeated Santa Ana at
the Battle of San Jacinto and Texas independence from
Mexico was won.

It was true in December of 1941, when Japanese planes
attacked American military installations in Pearl Harbor,
killing 2,300 and injuring another 1,100, and leaving our
Pacific fleet on fire, sunk and almost totally destroyed.
Within just over 3 years, always spurred on by the slogan
"Remember Pearl Harbor," a united America recovered
and thoroughly defeated Japan and secured our bases
throughout the Pacific.

But now we come to September of 2001. On the 11th
four commercial domestic planes were hijacked by a few
Islamic terrorists, airborne suicide bombers, who flew
the planes into the twin trade towers in New York, then
into the Pentagon in Washington. A fourth plane was
taken over by heroic passengers forcing it to crash before
it could reach its intended target. In all more than 3,000
were killed directly, really inestimable costs of property
damage were incurred, and the financial center of this
nation and the Western world was forced out of action.
It was an attack somewhat similar but more devastating
in effect than the one at Pearl Harbor.

But the results were worlds apart. For a few days, a few
months, actually, the nation was shocked and mourned
the losses. But grief was not replaced with anger. This
time there was no enemy nation to react against. This
time the attackers represented what was essentially a
Muslim religious cult called Al Qaeda, led by a wealthy
Arab named Osama bin Laden, operating from hidden
caves in Afghanistan with supporters throughout the
neighboring Muslim nations in the Middle East.

After the United Nations failed in effecting diplomatic
restraints on the leader of a terrorist regime in Iraq,
aided by a small group of supporting nations, America
went to war against Saddam Hussein.

But this time there was no rallying slogan
"Remember 9/11." This time there was no united
America determined to bring the existing and potential
world-wide reign of terrorism to an end. This time a
shattered and divided America had to wage war with
as many enemies here at home as in the Muslim world.

The attacks of 9/11 were clearly a declaration of war
and the forces which instigated it have not disappeared
and given up. The ultimate goal of the Muslim attackers
is the destruction and take-over of America and Western
civilization. They are united. America is not.

There is an effort to preserve the memory of the
atrocity which was 9/11. On October 25, 2001 the U.S.
Congress unanimously passed a Resolution requesting
the president to designate September 11 as "Patriot Day."

President Bush signed the Resolution into law, making
September 11 a discretionary day of remembrance. Then
on September 4, 2002 the president used that authority
to proclaim September 11 as "Patriot Day," and has done
so each year since, and has directed that on that day the
U.S. flag be flown at half-staff.

Thus there is at the national government level an
effort to remember with sorrow, but hopefully also with
anger, the tragedy of 9/11. Unfortunately, on a purely
partisan political level there is a strong anti-war, anti-
military, anti-America viewpoint, voiced not only by
left wing political organizations like Moveon.org, whose
ad insulting General Petraeus has caused such a back
lash on the Democrat Liberals, but also is most
unfortunately voiced by some members of our
government (see the first "Afterthought" below).

Very simply: "Remember 9/11" should take its place in
American history alongside "Remember the Alamo" and
"Remember Pearl Harbor." Those two older slogans did
not conceive of, or lead to, surrender and defeat. Let us
pray for a United America where that is true once again.

An 18th Century Quote for the Day: "How could a
readiness for war in time of peace be safely prohibited,
unless we could prohibit, in like manner also, the
preparations and establishments of every hostile nation."
-- James Madison, 1788.

Afterthoughts . . .

A real life "Dennis the Menace," or as one TV news
commentator expressed it, "During Viet Nam we had
Hanoi Jane . . . now we have Damascus Dennis." We
here in America know that the Democrat Congressman
Dennis Kucinich is a perennial presidential candidate
who never gets any electoral college votes, but every four
years enjoys the attention, the plane rides and the TV
appearances. But this time he has gone too far. He was
the only Member of Congress who on September 11 voted
"No" on the Congressional resolution to observe September
11 as a Day of Remembrance. The vote was 334 - 1. (98
Members were not present; most of them were attending
September 11 memorial services.) But then Mr. Kucinich
took time off to take a tour of the Middle East, and met
with Syrian President Assad. He said on Syrian TV that
the Iraq war was based on lies, and demanded that the
USA pay reparations to the Iraqi people. And he said it
was an honor to meet with Assad, describing him as a man
of peace. But how can this be true when his government is
officially designated by our State Department as one of 5
terrorist supporting nations. The tirades of Mr. Kucinich
against America and our soldiers are understood here in
America; we simply ignore him. But for the rest of the world,
most notably the Middle East where Syrian TV is seen, this
person is a candidate for the office of President of the United
States of America. One wonders why we should encourage
people like him to make ignorant pronouncements like he
does. He can hide beneath the First Amendment just so long,
but one day the charge of treason should catch up with him.

When reading polls, don’t ignore the favorable ones.
In a day when almost everything is decided, pro or con, by
the results of polls, it is all too common to accept only the
results of the unfavorable polls. Consider for example the
polls that reveal that only 35 - 40% of the American people
agree with the job performance of President Bush, and only
15-25% like the way Congress is doing its job. The impression
from reading those polls would be that this country is in a
sorry mess. But in just a few days (October 1) we will observe
the 50th anniversary of "In God We Trust" on our currency.

A few people, claiming to be atheists, object to the national
motto, but in 2003 a Gallup poll found that 90% of the
respondents favored it. Similarly, in 2004 another Gallup
poll found that just about the same percentage favored the
words"under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance. In 2005 and
2006 courts failed to rule that those references to God were
unconstitutional. Earlier this month a First Amendment
Center poll found that 55% of Americans believe that the
U.S. Constitution intended to establish a Christian nation.

So there are ample reasons to be encouraged about the
viewpoints of most of your fellow citizens.

An interesting Senior Citizen idea from Great
Britain . . .a story in the British newspaper, The Telegraph,
explains how one couple has found that rather than paying
$42,000 a year, per person, to stay in a residential senior
care facility, they are staying in a Travelodge motel for
$16,000 a year, which includes a comfortable room with
television, daily room cleaning, transportation when needed,
and a staff that treats them politely rather than patronizing
them – and friends can visit them whenever they want. This
may be a worthwhile idea to import from the mother country.

A confusing statement from Mexico. Just when the issue
of whether to allow Mexican trucks freedom to deliver whatever
merchandise they carry (illegal aliens, terrorists, armament and
explosives, for example) to all parts of America, the Mexican
President, Felipe Calderon, in his State of the Nation address
said, "Mexico does not end at its borders; where there is a
Mexican, there is Mexico." Taken at face value, that statement
would extend Mexico to wherever its trucks may operate, if we
assume that President Bush’s plan actually goes into full effect.

And if that were not confusing enough, presidential candidate
Rudy Giuliani said about illegal immigration: "It is not a crime.
I know that is very hard for people to understand, but it is not
a federal crime." True: that is hard to understand, since federal
laws make very clear what legal immigration involves. Statements
like those help us to understand why nothing seems to get done
to regulate immigration.

Another 18th Century thought: "Those gentlemen, who will
be elected senators, will fix themselves in the federal town, and
become citizens of that town more than of your state." – George
Mason, June, 1788.

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