9/11 remains etched

For Americans old enough to remember the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, the images of airliners striking the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York are etched forever in their minds.

Beyond that, they cannot forget the additional shock and fear that they experienced upon hearing that another airliner had struck the Pentagon and, shortly thereafter, that another hijacked jet — apparently targeted for the White House, the Capitol or some other government site — had crashed near Shanksville in Somerset County.

Sixteen years have passed since that horrific day, but the terrorism persisting around the world continues to make 9/11 seem not that long ago.

But now, on this 16th anniversary of what many regard as America’s darkest day, besides being fearful of future terrorist incidents, people of this country have cause to fear the threat that North Korea poses.

That’s not to imply that North Korea ever could defeat the military strength that the United States possesses. Instead, concerns are imbedded regarding what damage North Korea might inflict by way of a first strike — on the United States, South Korea, Japan, Guam, or who knows where — before this country snuffed out that aggression.

Meanwhile, the world, forced once again to witness the fanatical designs of a leader harboring little regard for human life — human life in both his country and other lands — has cause to wonder how a tragic, intentional misstep by North Korea’s ruler might lead to a much bigger confrontation, sucking in other powers pitted against one another.

As shattering as 9/11 proved to be, the threat North Korea poses could be much worse.

Sixteen years ago, America’s enemies were gloating over how much damage the attacks inflicted and how many innocent lives were lost.

However, Osama bin Laden, the “face” of the 9/11 atrocities, didn’t erode America as a nation, but only made it stronger.

If North Korean leader Kim Jong Un believes he can “accomplish” more than bin Laden and be spared terrible consequences, he’s guilty of a terrible, likely fatal, miscalculation — a miscalculation capable of consuming millions in his country.

North Korea would be forever changed militarily and in other ways, just like Germany and Japan as the result of World War II.

As Americans reflect on Sept. 11, 2001, many will recite prayers on behalf of that day’s innocent victims.

Many Americans also will reflect on the new awareness brought about by the events of that day regarding how emergency responders — paid and volunteer — put their lives and well-being at risk every time they answer a call.

Many first responders who answered 9/11’s call never lived to realize the full scope of what had occurred.

Prayers also will be recited on those responders’ behalf today as Americans remember their valiant efforts and sacrifices.

In remembrance of this sad anniversary, pause to reflect on what it continues to mean to America. Also, try to instill in young people who were not yet born, or who were too young to realize what was happening on that day, an understanding of how 9/11 impacted America then and forevermore.

America was injured on that day but it wasn’t crippled.

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