"September 11, 2001, was a defining moment in American history. On that terrible day, our nation saw the face of evil as 19 men barbarously attacked us and wantonly murdered people of many races, nationalities, and creeds. On Patriot Day, we remember the innocent victims, and we pay tribute to the valiant firefighters, police officers, emergency personnel and ordinary citizens who risked their lives so others might live. After the attacks on 9/11, America resolved that we would go on the offense against our enemies, and we would not distinguish between the terrorists and those who harbor and support them. All Americans honor the selfless men and women of our Armed Forces, the dedicated members of our public safety, law enforcement and intelligence communities, and the thousands of others who work hard each day to protect our country, secure our liberty and prevent future attacks. The spirit of our people is the source of America's strength, and six years ago, Americans came to the aid of neighbors in need. On Patriot Day, we pray for those who died and for their families. We volunteer to help others and demonstrate the continuing compassion of our citizens. On this solemn occasion, we rededicate ourselves to laying the foundation of peace with confidence in our mission and our free way of life." --President George W. Bush
"[A]s we approach the sixth anniversary of Sept. 11, there are suggestions that we should begin to forget the worst terrorist incident in America's history. Recently, a front-page story in The New York Times suggested it is becoming too much of a burden to remember the attack, that nothing new can be said about it and that, perhaps, Sept. 11 'fatigue' may be setting in.
"9/11 forces us to be serious, not only about those who died and why they died at the hands of religious fanatics, but also so that we won't forget that it could very well happen again and many of today's living might end up as yesterday's dead. That is the purpose of remembering 9/11, not to engage in perpetual mourning. The war goes on and to be reminded of 9/11 serves as the ultimate protection against forgetfulness. Terrorists have not forgotten 9/11. Tape of the Twin Towers is used on jihadist Websites for the purpose of recruiting new 'martyrs.'
"What's the matter with some people? Does remembering not only 9/11 but the stakes in this world war interfere too much with our pursuit of money, things and pleasure? Serious times require serious thought and serious action. In our frivolous times, full of trivialities and irrelevancies, to be serious is to abandon self-indulgence for survival, entertainment for the stiffened spine.
"Not to remember 9/11, is to forget what brought it about." --Cal Thomas
"Last week The New York Times carried a story about the current state of the 9/11 lawsuits. Relatives of 42 of the dead are suing various parties for compensation, on the grounds that what happened that Tuesday morning should have been anticipated. The law firm Motley Rice, diversifying from its traditional lucrative class-action hunting grounds of tobacco, asbestos and lead paint, is promising to put on the witness stand everybody who 'allowed the events of 9/11 to happen.' And they mean everybody--American Airlines, United, Boeing, the airport authorities, the security firms--everybody, that is, except the guys who did it.
"According to the Times, many of the bereaved are angry and determined that their loved one's death should have meaning. Yet the meaning they're after surely strikes our enemies not just as extremely odd but as one more reason why they'll win. You launch an act of war, and the victims respond with a lawsuit against their own countrymen. But that's the American way: Almost every news story boils down to somebody standing in front of a microphone and announcing that he's retained counsel...[T]hose 9/11 families should know that, if you want your child's death that morning to have meaning, what matters is not whether you hound Boeing into admitting liability but whether you insist that the movement that murdered your daughter is hunted down and the sustaining ideological virus that led thousands of others to dance up and down in the streets cheering her death is expunged from the earth
"On this sixth anniversary, as 9/11 retreats into history, many Americans see no war at all." --Mark Steyn
A friend wondered via IM this evening why New Orleans is getting all the press, post-Katrina. My response was because it's New Orleans. Gulfport, Biloxi, Pass Christian: they're not famous for anything, whereas the Crescent City is famous for food, music, and floozies. (And not necessarily in that order.) Also, the water came in to Gulfport, et al, then left. When you have a metropolis that's below sea level, the water comes in and it stays, aka, the "bowl effect." What is doubly unfortunate for Mississippi residents is their state's decision to put all of its eggs in the basket of the casinos, some of which are now in the middle of highways and further inland. These were previously floating casinos, mind you. Personally, I saw little in terms of results with regard to the casino revenue bootstrapping the state up from the bottom of every good list and off the top of every bad list things are measured by. Perhaps the silver lining for Mississippi will be the forcing of the state and local governments to look at alternative forms of revenue, etc., instead of relying on gambling, which, let's be honest, annually took in more money from its own residents than it did tourists. This was especially true once Louisiana legalized gambling, and goes back to the point of being famous mentioned above. Why go to Gulfport or Biloxi to gamble when you can do it in New Orleans? So in the hope of showing at least a sliver of the Internet-using population why Mississippi is as deserving of your donations as the Big Easy, I'll point you to photos of the devastation courtesy of the Florida Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.
Ben Stein rips in to the media and Angry Left over the Katrina-is-Bush's-fault blame game. You know it must be bad if it's raising Ben's ire.
The USPS has a page up showing the zip codes that are either closed for now, or are in limited operation, in the Katrina-affected areas of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. We had planned to mail the latest portraits of our two year-old to my grandmother, who lives slightly west of Meridian, MS, and to my father-in-law, who is north of Lake Pontchartrain. Neither will be receiving mail for the forseeable future. I thought I would post the Postal Service's service link in case anyone else was wondering about mail to the affected areas.
Brendan Miniter has a piece on OpinionJournal today on the opportunity New Orleans has with rebuilding its educational system, one of the worst in the nation. I can personally testify to how bad things are in some of the schools there; I spent a few days at a single elementary school, troubleshooting some classroom Macintosh-printer set-ups. The school's HVAC system was offline, and had been for weeks. The teachers were mulling along as best they can, keeping the windows cracked so the rooms wouldn't get stuffy, and running fans. You can imagine, however, trying to teach a bunch of third-graders with three or four box fans going at once. Lack of funds was the reason for a less-timely repair of the system. I was there as an independent contactor, called out by the principal, because there was no one on the district's IT staff with any Macintosh knowledge. One aspect of rebuilding the New Orleans public school system that Miniter brings up is something I have long been in favor of: break the back of the teachers' union. The myriad "education" unions in this country have only served to hinder the success of our children in public schools, and that is evident in New Orleans, and most of Louisiana. No, the teachers' union is not the only problem with the school system, but if it is not providing a solution, it's proving a hindrance. As Miniter says, there is a unique opportunity in New Orleans now, and that is to build an educational system from the ground up. The Crescent City has a chance to be a beacon for the rest of the nation. We pray they seize it.
My wife grew up in Kenner, in Jefferson Parish. For you geographical neophytes, Jefferson is due west of Orleans Parish. If you've ever driven in to New Orleans from the west, or flown in to New Orleans International Airport, you've driven through Kenner and Jefferson Parish. My wife's childhood home is certainly under a good bit of water at this point. Though we have no word from him yet, her father is north of Lake Pontchartrain, at his horse farm in Franklinton, so hopefully, we have no family worries, post-Katrina. She has been very distressed, however. This was where she grew up. We lived in the area for six years. I grew up sixty-odd miles away in the Baton Rouge area. We have ties. We have friends. We feel despondent. I confessed to Tom earlier today that my heart aches. My wife comes in to the study a few moments ago, to browse online news, and says:
"The only positive thing about all of this is that we haven't heard Cindy Sheehan's name in the past three days." Crap.