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Today's Commentary: September 11 -- Tragic country music news -- Irma damage -- McCain hypocrisy -- Hillary's inspiration -- News Bits
As we all arise and anxiously turn on the news to see the latest on the natural disaster in Florida, many of us can’t help remembering another September 11th morning 16 years ago. We awoke and turned on the news, unsuspecting, only to be confronted with a horrific manmade disaster.
In a plot orchestrated by Osama bin Laden, leader of the terrorist group al-Qaeda, 19 radical Islamic terrorists hijacked four passenger planes and turned them into deadly missiles. They crashed two jets into the World Trade Center and one into the Pentagon. The third might have destroyed the White House or the US Capitol, if the heroic passengers of United Flight 93 hadn’t realized what was happening and stopped the attackers themselves, at the cost of their own lives when the plane crashed in a field in Pennsylvania. In just one day, the 9/11 attackers murdered nearly 3,000 innocent people and injured over 6,000 more. It was the deadliest attack ever on U.S. soil, and there were more casualties than at Pearl Harbor.
Today, there will be 9/11 memorial services all across America. But those of us who lived through that day will never need a reminder of what it was like. Many images from that day, of planes exploding into buildings and people leaping to their deaths to escape the fires, were later banned from the airwaves as too disturbing to see. But to those who lived through it, censoring those images was pointless, because they’re seared so deeply into our memories. To us, 9/11 will always seem as recent as yesterday. We tell ourselves, “Never forget,” but the truth is, we couldn’t forget that day if we tried.
Because it will always seem so fresh in our minds, it’s easy to forget that with the passage of 16 years, a new generation is rising that has little or no personal memory of 9/11. Children who were only four or five when it happened and were shielded from the horror by their parents are now in college. To them, 9/11 is something they learn about in history class. Sadly, too many are learning anti-American, revisionist history from agenda-driven leftist professors who believe that America “had it coming,” and who think it’s bigotry to suggest that America’s culture of freedom is superior to other cultures, even the oppressive, deadly culture of radical Islamism.
That’s why, if we want such a nightmare never to happen again – or something even worse, if, say, we stupidly allow Iran to develop nuclear weapons as we did North Korea – it is our responsibility to insure that younger generations learn the truth about 9/11, and not some skewed, anti-American propaganda.
Immediately after 9/11, there was such a wave of patriotism and togetherness that the usual blame-America voices scurried into hiding. Censoring those horrific images proved to be a strategic blunder, because as the shock and memory of 9/11 faded, the anti-American termites crawled back out from under their rocks and went back to work eating away at our foundations. As painful as it is to remember 9/11, we need to keep that memory fresh and pass it on to our children and grandchildren, because it’s obvious our media and higher education system can’t be trusted to do it.
It is amazing how much we’ve forgotten about the enemy we’re dealing with, even as they give us daily reminders of their limitless brutality. Yet we keep repeating meaningless gestures of security while ignoring clear and present dangers. We have built a massive, invasive, time-consuming airport security system that has to prove it’s politically correct by hauling 90-year-old grandmothers out of wheelchairs and patting down toddlers. Yet we’re blasted for our lack of compassion if we object to foreign nationals streaming into the country across our open borders or suggest even a temporary halt to refugees pouring in from terrorism-plagued nations that are incapable of vetting them.
Is that really the lesson we learned from 9/11? To make it harder for law-abiding Americans to get onto an airplane than for terrorists to get into America? Or to believe that we can actually negotiate with terrorist-supporting radicals who chant “Death to America” even as we rely on a nuclear agreement that they’ve repeatedly signaled they have no intention of obeying?
On this 16th anniversary of the darkest day in American history, we must rededicate ourselves to keeping alive the memory of that day and to teaching our children and grandchildren what happened, what it means, and especially, who were the attackers and who were the victims. But let’s not just teach them about the horrors. Let’s also teach them about the incredible bravery of the many heroes who gave or risked their lives to save others, both on 9/11 and afterward: the firefighters, police officers, first responders, citizen volunteers and soldiers. They also deserve to be part of our prayers and remembrances, and part of the legacy of 9/11 that we pass on to future generations. That American spirit of heroism and selflessness is not dead. It’s still alive and on display again right now in Texas and Florida.
In his farewell address, President Andrew Jackson warned that eternal vigilance is the price of liberty. Some Americans today scoff at that idea. They’ve always enjoyed the liberty secured by the sacrifices of others, and foolishly assume it can be taken for granted. 9/11 should have shattered that fantasy forever. But as it recedes into history, the cozy fantasy that America can safely let its guard down has taken hold again. We need to remember both 9/11 and philosopher George Santayana’s warning: that those who fail to remember the past are doomed to repeat it.
Tragic country music news
By Mike Huckabee
There’s doubly tragic news this morning from the world of country music. First, word has come that Troy Gentry of the popular due Montgomery Gentry was killed in a helicopter crash Friday at the Flying W Airport in Medford, New Jersey. He was 50. The unnamed pilot also died at the scene. Few details are known at this time, other than his family has asked for privacy and expressed gratitude for our thoughts and prayers, which of course, they are in. Montgomery Gentry was one of the most successful country acts of recent years, landing 20 songs on Billboard’s Hot Country Chart, including five #1s.
And one of the greatest and most distinctive voices in country music history, the “Gentle Giant,” Don Williams, has died at 78 after a short illness. The Floydada, Texas, native’s smooth, deep voice and warm, sincere delivery combined with some of the best songs ever written in the country field resulted in dozens of hits, including the crossover smash, “I Believe In You.” Other timeless hits include “Tulsa Time,” “Lord, I Hope This Day Is Good,” “It Must Be Love,” “Good Old Boys Like Me,” and his duet with Emmylou Harris, “If I Needed You.” His influence was felt far beyond the country field, with rock superstars such as Eric Clapton and Pete Townshend covering his songs. And his fandom stretched worldwide; one of his popular concert CDs was recorded live in Ireland.
The CEO of the Country Music Hall of Fame, Kyle Young, released a statement saying, "Don Williams offered calm, beauty, and a sense of wistful peace that is in short supply these days. His music will forever be a balm in troublesome times. Everyone who makes country music with grace, intelligence, and ageless intent will do so while standing on the shoulders of this gentle giant."
And that’s true: with so much trouble and turmoil in the news, if you find yourself unable to take another minute of people yelling and arguing with each, I can’t think of a better way to relax and remind yourself of the basic human decency, wisdom and values common to us all than to put on some Don Williams music.
By Mike Huckabee
As of this writing, Hurricane Irma is still crawling its way northward up western Florida. It’s been downgraded to a Category 1 hurricane, but that’s still powerful enough to cause serious damage, and it’s already left plenty in its wake. Fortunately, due to mass evacuations and preparations, there are no known deaths caused directly by the storm, although there have been at least four casualties in vehicle accidents related to the evacuation. Over 3 million people in Florida are without electricity, which combined with the storm and the darkness made it difficult to assess just how bad the damage is. I’ll have an update when more is known, but until then, please keep all who are in the storm’s path in your prayers.
In the meantime, check out this story from Florida, which like the heroism of the people helping their neighbors in Texas, shows that despite the worst efforts by some factions to divide Americans and sew hatred and suspicion, we are better than that and we look out for our neighbors. This Huck’s Hero certainly proved that.
By Mike Huckabee
With FEMA funds on the verge of running out, President Trump quickly signed an emergency funding measure to provide hurricane relief. But some Congressional Republicans are still seething because he cut a deal with Senate Democrats to get it done quickly that included putting off a fight over raising the debt ceiling until December. I guess they didn’t think a President famously elected as a dealmaker was serious when he threatened to cut a deal with Democrats after Republicans failed to pass his agenda. Outspoken Trump critic Sen. John McCain added his voice to the denunciations of the deal, telling the Washington Post that he doesn’t understand how Trump could have turned his back on his party to deal with Democrats like Chuck Schumer, and that he’s never seen anything like it before.
I guess, unless you count the McCain-Feingold campaign finance bill, the Gang of Eight immigration bill whose creators included John McCain and Chuck Schumer, or the recent vote by John McCain that saved Obamacare.
By Mike Huckabee
In an interview with Jane Pauley on “CBS News Sunday Morning,” Hillary Clinton revealed that she dealt with losing to Donald Trump with everything from closet cleaning to hiking to “my share of Chardonnay.” She was so sure she would win, she didn’t prepare a concession speech. She even bought a second house in Chappaqua just for her presidential staff and security. She said that’s where she ended up writing this new book. I presume that means it has a wine cellar.
REPOSTING BECAUSE IT IS SOOOO GOOD: The Onion nails Hillary.
Why you should never take disaster preparedness advice from Michael Moore.
An amazing story that might inspire you to check that organ donor box on your driver’s license: Meet Jemima Layzell, a 13-year-old girl from the UK who died in 2012 of a sudden brain aneurism. But her parents feel that she still lives on because her donated organs saved the lives of a record eight people.
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