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Remembering the September 11 attack victims
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Next Tuesday, Sept. 11, marks the eleventh year since terrorists attacked the World Trade Center, killing thousands of innocent people. The Pentagon was also struck during these attacks, resulting in many casualties. Our nation has changed a lot since then, having fought wars in Iraq and Afghanistan for more than a decade. During this time, thousands of U.S. military personnel have been killed or have suffered crippling injuries in those foreign lands, and at the same time, innumerable civilians in both countries have experienced similar fates. That awful event of Sept. 11, 2001 has left an indelible memory on us all - one of horror, disbelief and anger.

The 9/11 attack shook this nation to its core. We were caught off guard and shocked to have our homeland attacked by an outside source, and we could no longer take the security of our homeland for granted. Nevertheless, the people of this country did not pause before moving ahead. Volunteer assistance, donations and governmental help poured in to handle the World Trade Center catastrophe, this nation's security measures were seriously improved, and we set out to eliminate the scourge that attacked us.

Since 9/11, the al Qaeda, which is believed to be responsible for the 9/11 attacks and other failed acts of terrorism here, has been essentially dismembered. It now exists in a much smaller form, it is fractured and decentralized, its leaders have been quickly neutralized before being able to put the organization back on a path towards strength, and its future as an effective terrorist organization is now less than optimistic. The al Qaeda organization has been disrupted and defeated. Even Osama bin Laden, the reclusive al Qaeda leader, has been eliminated, and for several years before his death, he had already lost effective control of the organization he once firmly lead and directed. This was all accomplished through the leadership of the United States with assistance of several other countries.

Far more important than bin Laden and al Qaeda, is the people of this country. We Americans have vowed to never forget those ruthless and cowardly attacks. And at the same time, we demonstrated our incredible resilience and the ability to overcome the psychological and physical effects of 9/11. We have also managed to foil the terrorists' attempts to turn our self-protection efforts into a religious war. Had we fallen into that trap, the consequences for us and the world as a whole would have been disastrous. We went after individuals and groups, not because of their religious faith, but because of their terrorist actions.

Truly, 9/11 was an awful event for this nation and many people are still suffering from their losses. We will not forget the monsters responsible for the carnage and this nation's suffering. Yet, we can take great pride in what we have since accomplished in terms of our anti-terrorism efforts. We should also celebrate how the people of this nation have pulled together to take care of each other and preserve this nation's greatness. We shall never forget and we shall remain strong.