Friday, September 16, 2005

A "Day of Infamy" Then and Now

September 11, 2001 remains a vivid memory to most. People recall the day by saying, "I was here, doing this, thought this, felt this...". The strike against our country changed us as a people, as a country, and changed the world as the world watched and waited to see what would happen next.

Is it any wonder we went to war? Not hardly. Franklin Delano Roosevelt declared the attack on Pearl Harbor "a day of infamy". Sixty years later we found ourselves attacked on our own soil once more. Initially, the rally to war was a loud and vibrant scream that was shared by a majority of our people. Unfortunately, once it was determined who the perpetrators were, the suspicion and distrust of Muslims living here became nearly as great as it was in the days of WWII for the Japanese living here. In those days the Japanese Americans were removed to detainee camps based on the heightened state of distrust and animosity for those very reasons - to prevent vigilante's from retaliating against the Japanese Americans and to prevent any acts of war against our country from coming from within. Although the Japanese Americans were not declared enemy combatants, they were treated as such. Forced from their homes to camps scattered across the country they were held under guard until the war ended. One of the detainee camps was Camp Gruber located at Braggs, OK which now is home to over 1400 refugees from the hurricane Katrina. Never since the days of WWII has this camp had so many civilians interred in it.

We as a nation should applaud ourselves for our constraint in the aftermath of 9-11. Yes, there were some random acts of vigilantism against those of Middle Eastern descent, but as a whole we had learned how deplorable it was to judge an entire group of people by the acts of a few. No detainee camps were set up, no mass transports were made, and those people have been able to continue on with their lives. It has not been easy for them as suspicion and animosity continues to this day. But we have learned constraint and tolerance over the years which is commendable given the extreme pressure to protect ourselves from the act of terrorism that was wrought on 9-11 and the continued threat of terrorism in the days since. We have had those who have hid in our communities and who have been charged with plotting terrorists acts against our country. Yet, we have followed the course of reason and constraint, without the need for mass removal of a body of our citizens to guarded camps based on their religious beliefs and cultural background.

We have also acted in honor. 9-11 changed us all. Many came forward to fight the war on terrorism, convinced that never again if they could do anything to prevent it, our generations "day of infamy" would be repeated. Our government, our people, have worked diligently to preserve life as we knew it in the days before 9-11. Our innocence may have been lost that day, but the need to retain the essence of that innocence has not been lost. We all have a stake in preserving our country's integrity, honor, and dignity. With few exceptions, we have accomplished that with admirable success.

posted by Is It Just Me? at 10:34 PM