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Saturday, December 09, 2023
The independent student publication of The University at Buffalo, since 1950

Remember Who We Are

The air we breathe today is the air of history. They're already calling it "the second Pearl Harbor." It is the most devastating terrorist attack ever. The World Trade Center is gone. The Pentagon is destroyed, and at the time this piece is being written, we are still not sure if any destruction is left to come.

If history teaches anything it is that it repeats itself, in this instance with far greater consequence.

It has been nearly 60 years since an event of this magnitude has landed on our shores and many say that time has made us clumsy. I would have to agree. The level of planning and the meticulous nature of these attacks leave us, as a people, with many questions about our security.

The world has been changed and unprecedented action has been taken to try and regain some footing. Airports have been shut down along with every government building; even our national pastime has been cancelled for fear of compromised safety.

What went wrong? How could this happen? We are America.

It can happen, it has happened and it is time we remember that we are as susceptible as anyone else to an attack. Four airplanes at two different airports, on two different airlines were hijacked at the same time. The idea that with all our intelligence, all our satellites and radar, something like this can still not only hard to believe; it's nearly impossible to comprehend.

Looking at the footage on television and the accounts of those who survived the experience - the whole thing seems surreal, but it isn't.

It is already being estimated that the loss of life will be in the tens of thousands and the damage to the city of New York, beyond repair. In years to come New Yorkers will be telling tourists and visiting family members, "That is where the World Trade Center used to be."

But as the smoke clears over the skyline it is difficult to look at a once glorious vista reduced to rumble, without harboring a sense of anger. Many will blame the Palestinians; others will blame nations like Afghanistan and Iraq. However, part of the blame lies with us.

Watching the horrific display of Palestinians taking to the streets in celebration, throwing candy in the air, screaming God is good, and holding peace signs in the air, it is hard to avoid the feeling that they won. Whoever was responsible for this action has succeeded in changing the world, and those in support of this action couldn't be happier. It is difficult to talk about but apparently nonetheless - we are hated.

Being the most powerful nation in the world makes us a primary target for anyone looking to make a statement of authority. We should have been prepared.

That preparation begins at the airports and with surveillance, with intelligence and security. If someone in a foreign nation breathes a threat of destruction we should know. It is not only what we pay for but it is how we distinguish ourselves from the rest of the world.

So what now? For now all we can do is lower our heads and pray for a resolution. However in the days, weeks and months to come we must prepare for action, in the search for a culprit, in the punishment of that culprit, and most importantly in the reestablishment of our standing as a world power, a power that cannot and will not be placed under siege, or put in a position to fear.

We must remember our standing and our need to enforce the power of that standing when necessary. Not to fear, or to suspect, but to know, that this cannot happen.

Maybe this tragic event will bring us, as a nation, closer together, maybe it will increase the attention paid to maintaining our way of life, maybe it will send us to war.

For now, however, all we can do is mourn and be prepared.



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