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#705106 - 09/14/01 07:58 AM You've gone and done it ths time  
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 6,133
Piano World Offline
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Joined: May 2001
Posts: 6,133
Parsonsfield, ME (orig. Nahant...
Leonard Pitts, Jr. - Knight-Ridder


It's my job to have something to say.

They pay me to provide words that help make sense of that which troubles the American soul. But in this moment of airless shock when hot tears sting disbelieving eyes, the only thing I can find to say, the only words that seem to fit, must be addressed to the unknown author of this suffering.

You monster. You beast. You unspeakable bastard.

What lesson did you hope to teach us by your coward's attack on our World Trade Center, our Pentagon, us? What was it you hoped we would learn? Whatever it was, please know that you failed.

Did you want us to respect your cause? You just damned your cause.

Did you want to make us fear? You just steeled our resolve.

Did you want to tear us apart? You just brought us together.

Let me tell you about my people. We are a vast and quarrelsome family, a family rent by racial, social, political and class division, but a family nonetheless. We're frivolous, yes, capable of expending tremendous emotional energy on pop cultural minutiae -- a singer's revealing dress, a ball team's misfortune, a cartoon mouse. We're wealthy, too, spoiled by the ready availability of trinkets and material goods, and maybe because of that, we walk through life with a certain sense of blithe entitlement. We are fundamentally decent, though -- peace-loving and compassionate. We struggle to know the right thing and to do it. And we are, the overwhelming majority of us, people of faith, believers in a just and loving God.

Some people -- you, perhaps -- think that any or all of this makes us weak. You're mistaken. We are not weak. Indeed, we are strong in ways that cannot be measured by arsenals.

Yes, we're in pain now. We are in mourning and we are in shock. We're still grappling with the unreality of the awful thing you did, still working to make ourselves understand that this isn't a special effect from some Hollywood blockbuster, isn't the plot development from a Tom Clancy novel. Both in terms of the awful scope of their ambition and the probable final death toll, your attacks are likely to go down as the worst acts of terrorism in the history of the United States and, probably, the history of the world. You've bloodied us as we have never been bloodied before.

But there's a gulf of difference between making us bloody and making us fall. This is the lesson Japan was taught to its bitter sorrow the last time anyone hit us this hard, the last time anyone brought us such abrupt and monumental pain. When roused, we are righteous in our outrage, terrible in our force. When provoked by this level of barbarism, we will bear any suffering, pay any cost, go to any length, in the pursuit of justice.

I tell you this without fear of contradiction. I know my people, as you, I think, do not. What I know reassures me. It also causes me to tremble with dread of the future.

In the days to come, there will be recrimination and accusation, fingers pointing to determine whose failure allowed this to happen and what can be done to prevent it from happening again. There will be heightened security, misguided talk of revoking basic freedoms. We'll go forward from this moment sobered, chastened, sad. But determined, too. Unimaginably determined.

You see, the steel in us is not always readily apparent. That aspect of our character is seldom understood by people who don't know us well. On this day, the family's bickering is put on hold.

As Americans we will weep, as Americans we will mourn, and as Americans, we will rise in defense of all that we cherish.

So I ask again: What was it you hoped to teach us? It occurs to me that maybe you just wanted us to know the depths of your hatred. If that's the case, consider the message received. And take this message in exchange: You don't know my people. You don't know what we're capable of. You don't know what you just started.

But you're about to learn.


Leonard Pitts is a Miami Herald columnist.

(Thank you Jodi for pointing out this article to us - Frank B.)


- Frank B.
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#705107 - 09/14/01 08:33 AM Re: You've gone and done it ths time  
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 1,709
Hank Drake Online content
1000 Post Club Member
Hank Drake  Online Content
1000 Post Club Member

Joined: May 2001
Posts: 1,709
Cleveland, Ohio
Indeed, this enemy is about to learn a bitter lesson.

Americans of all stripes: African-Americans, Asian-Americans, Caucasian-Americans, Latin-Americans, will now rise as one.

Christian, Jew, Islamic, Athiest, and Agnostic Americans, will fight as one.

As has been proven by history: white, black or in between; gay, straight or in between; whatever faith or no faith at all, when America's future is in peril, those petty differences mean nothing.

More than merely surviving, America--all of it--will prevail.


Hank Drake

The composers want performers be imaginative, in the direction of their thinking--not just robots, who execute orders.
George Szell
#705108 - 09/14/01 02:10 PM Re: You've gone and done it ths time  
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 559
Rick Offline
500 Post Club Member
Rick  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 559
Chicago
That is a very inspiring commentary. Right now I choose not to quarrel in that other post (Norbert's, God bless him). I haven't been to church in over 3 months, but I felt this overwhelming need to go today, on this National Day of Prayer. My co-worker and friend was more than happy to go with me to a nearby church, the denomination of which didn't seem to matter. I have not cried all week, and didn't think that I would, but today was somehow different for me. And yes, tears were running down my face during the service. That last song, what a glorious song, and IMHO, we sang it very well, and very loudly! "America the Beautiful" it was, and I have never, ever sung a song with as much passion and feeling. God shed his grace on thee... that's us of course! If I could play the piano with that much feeling, I would be doing Carnegie Hall. The terrorists will not win, will not succeed in their evil efforts. God Bless America.

#705109 - 09/14/01 04:53 PM Re: You've gone and done it ths time  
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 1,731
lb Offline
1000 Post Club Member
lb  Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Joined: May 2001
Posts: 1,731
Indiana
This was forwarded to me, I don't know who he is but it is good.

Interesting words of an 18 year old....


Hit the buildings, Missed America . . . .


An open letter to a terrorist: Well, you hit the World Trade Center, but you missed America.

You hit the Pentagon, but you missed America.

You used helpless American bodies, to take out other American bodies, but like a poor marksman, you STILL missed America.

Why? Because of something you guys will never understand. America isn't about a building or two, not about financial centers, not about military centers, America isn't about a place, America isn't even about a bunch of bodies. America is about an IDEA. An idea, that you can go someplace where you can earn as much as you can figure out how to, live for the most part, like you envisioned living, and pursue Happiness. (No guarantees that you'll reach it, but you can sure try!) Go ahead and whine your terrorist whine, and chant your terrorist litany: "If you cannot see my point, then feel my pain." This concept is alien to Americans.

We live in a country where we don't have to see your point. But you're free to have one.

We don't have to listen to your speech. But you're free to say one.

Don't know where you got the strange idea that everyone has to agree with you. We don't agree with each other in this country, almost as a matter of pride. We're a collection of guys that don't agree, called States.

We united our individual states to protect ourselves from tyranny in the world.
Another idea, we made up on the spot. You CAN make it up as you go, when it's your country. If you're free enough.

Yeah, we're fat, sloppy, easy-going goofs most of the time. That's an unfortunate image to project to the world, but it comes of feeling free and easy about the world you live in.

It's unfortunate too, because people start to forget that when you attack Americans, they tend to fight like a cornered badger.

The first we knew of the War of 1812, was when England burned Washington D.C. o the ground. Didn't turn out like England thought it was going to, and it's not going to turn out like you think, either. Sorry, but you're not the first bully on our shores, just the most recent.

No Marquis of Queensbury rules for Americans, either.

We were the FIRST and so far, only country in the world to use nuclear weapons in anger. Horrific idea, nowadays? News for you bucko, it was back then too, but we used it anyway. Only had two of them in the whole world and we used 'em both. Grandpa Jones worked on the Manhattan Project. Told me once, that right up until they threw the switch, the physicists were still arguing over whether the Uranium alone would fission, or whether it would start a fissioning chain reaction that would eat everything. But they threw the switch anyway, because we had a War to win. Does that tell you something about American Resolve?

So who just declared War on us? It would be nice to point to some real estate, like the good old days. Unfortunately, we're probably at war with random camps, in far-flung places. Who think they're safe. Just like the Barbary Pirates did, IIRC.

Better start sleeping with one eye open.

There's a spirit that tends to take over people who come to this country, looking for opportunity, looking for liberty, looking for freedom. Even if they misuse it.

The Marielistas that Castro emptied out of his prisons, were overjoyed to find out how much freedom there was. First thing they did when they hit our shores, was run out and buy guns. The ones that didn't end up dead, ended up in prisons. It was a big PITA then (especially in south Florida), but you're only the newest PITA, not the first.

You guys seem to be incapable of understanding that we don't live in America, America lives in US! American Spirit is what it's called. And killing a few thousand of us, or a few million of us, won't change it.

Most of the time, it's a pretty happy-go-lucky kind of Spirit. Until we're crossed in a cowardly manner, then it becomes an entirely different kind of Spirit.

Wait until you see what we do with that Spirit, this time. Sleep tight, if you can. We're coming.

Charles Brennan

#705110 - 09/14/01 05:39 PM Re: You've gone and done it ths time  
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 559
Rick Offline
500 Post Club Member
Rick  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 559
Chicago
That letter nails this American Idea right on the head, especially for an 18-year old. We are a nation based on a great, new idea that the world had never seen before. Our Founders understood the true human spirit like nobody before them. This spirit is based on God-given rights and a sincere yearning to be free. Free from a tyrannical government, and free to pursue your own happiness.


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