Today, as in the past, since the first anniversary, we commemorate that terrible day and its losses. Yet the key to that day is also to understand the forces that initiated those attacks and find a more fundamental way to turn those acts of hate and destruction from gaining a grip on our society and altering our own democracy and way of life.
Nor should they distort our perspective on our own role in the world, our own moral values, and our nation’s role to help make this frail globe a more peaceful and just environment. Too often we have lost our way and abandoned some of our long held values that have made our country the most respected in the world.
Perhaps the most important thing to remember is not to let terrorism and the terrorists consume our efforts, our thoughts, and our policies to the detriment of other fundamental challenges we are facing in the fast changing and complex world.
In “rethinking national security,” we need to realize that we can better defeat the forces of hate by addressing more basic and larger issues which have brought so many to desperation, despair, hatred and senseless violence. Certainly, terrorism feeds on poverty even if some terrorists are not poor. It feeds on prejudice. It feeds on ignorance. It is these that we need to address for the cost they bear on any society as they are the breeding ground for terrorism.
We should not let terrorism defeat our larger purposes and more important challenges. If we can keep our sense of proportion and wise perspective, we can address the real dangers to our world and terrorism will lose, not gain. And we will not lose our souls.