It’s been eleven years since terrorists attacked the United States on September 11, 2001, and the lessons have not been forgotten. In the intervening years, the United States’ foreign and domestic security policy has been revamped and improved, and we have not suffered another attack on American soil.

President George W. Bush’s words to a joint session of Congress mere days after the atrocities echo with a message of vigilince, tolerance and thoughtfulness. I will excerpt them here, but highly recommend reading them in full.

On September the 11th, enemies of freedom committed an act of war against our country. Americans have known wars — but for the past 136 years, they have been wars on foreign soil, except for one Sunday in 1941. Americans have known the casualties of war — but not at the center of a great city on a peaceful morning. Americans have known surprise attacks — but never before on thousands of civilians. All of this was brought upon us in a single day — and night fell on a different world, a world where freedom itself is under attack. Americans have many questions tonight. Americans are asking: Who attacked our country? The evidence we have gathered all points to a collection of loosely affiliated terrorist organizations known as al Qaeda. They are some of the murderers indicted for bombing American embassies in Tanzania and Kenya, and responsible for bombing the USS Cole. Al Qaeda is to terror what the mafia is to crime. But its goal is not making money; its goal is remaking the world — and imposing its radical beliefs on people everywhere.

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