It isn't hard to remember something that has never really gone away. The sites of the attacks -- the World Trade Center Towers in New York City, the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., and a field in Pennsylvania where a plane was taken down by brave passengers before it reached its target -- have all been cleared and memorials erected.


 

 

Today we celebrate our seventh Patriot Day.

Beginning at 7:46 a.m. (CDT) Americans were asked to remember the more than 3,000 people lost in the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

It isn't hard to remember something that has never really gone away. The sites of the attacks -- the World Trade Center Towers in New York City, the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., and a field in Pennsylvania where a plane was taken down by brave passengers before it reached its target -- have all been cleared and memorials erected.

But the afterglow of the attacks still illuminates the American landscape.

The country is still engaged in two wars in response to the attack and against those who support the extremists who carried out the attacks. A surge in Iraq has improved conditions there. But just this week, Pentagon officials reported that the plan in Afghanistan was not headed toward success.

Instead, an insurgency is becoming more dangerous and thugs and drug cultivators dominate the war-ravaged economy.

These military engagements and the political nightmare that they inspire dominate the nation's political debate. Should we pull out troops immediately or should we stay the course?

Each candidate has a position and voters are listening to arguments.

Osama bin Laden is still alive and plotting more attacks against free people of the world. Despite the obvious frustration developed by the failure to kill or capture the mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, and claims by the chief of the Department of Homeland Security that our airways are still not safe, America has avoided another major terrorist attack for the seven years since the original attack.

Taking the battle to Iraq and Afghanistan has shifted the front lines out of America's heartland.

But will either presidential candidate have the courage and honor to lead America to the end game of these conflicts and truly move us out of the 9/11 era?

Current arguments are centering around whether a woman who called herself a pit bull with lipstick has the right be offended by the other candidate who compared modifying failing policies to putting lipstick on a pig.

The other side is taking offense because they say criticizing "community organizers" is poorly veiled racism.

Pettiness won't win wars and bring soldiers home victoriously.

Accusations of racism, sexism, ageism and sarcasm won't help the economy that -- even with a slight recent recovery -- is languishing under a falling value of the dollar and high energy prices.

It's been seven years, but the recovery is still incomplete. The 9/11 era is still upon us.

The primary charge of the next leader of this country will be to raise our nation from the mire and restore the glory that we once enjoyed and still desire.

When that mission is accomplished, the memories of those lost in the attacks will truly be honored. That will lead to a real celebration on Patriot Day.

Augusta Gazette