As strange as it may seem, if Osama bin Laden is actually the mastermind behind the attack on America, as our leaders say, then he has done more than any pastor or politician to inspire all Americans to come back to God and patriotism.
A shame, isn't it? It took all this death and destruction to bring we Americans together... Patriotism is on the rise as we rally around the flag, the president, and this nation for the war on terrorism.
Can we keep patriotism flying within each of us, as high as our flag flies at the top of its pole? Hopefully, we can keep everyone inspired.
How about God and his various religions? Can the church leaders hold onto the full pews of people? Keep them inspired, encouraged, humble, and seeking the face of God forever?
This fellow, Osama bin Laden, has miscalculated what the real meaning of being a true American is all about. He didn't realize that we come together when a disaster of this sort strikes anywhere in our land. Then, after the worst is over, we go back to our old ways of lashing out at each other, finding fault, being critical, building up, and then cutting back down. It's almost like a sport or a hobby...
At certain times, we should or must put aside all our differences and come together in love and understanding.
Bill Adams, North Augusta, S.C.
As our country embarks on a war against terrorism, some people are questioning our resolve and noting that Vietnam proved we, as a nation, will not support a cause if we sustain a high number of casualties. They don't seem to comprehend what most of us do - we've already suffered a high number of casualties.
In Vietnam we lost 57,000 Americans over a decade-plus period. In a couple of hours on Sept. 11, we suffered losses totaling approximately 10 percent of that number. In Vietnam, our military and civilian support personnel knew every day there was a possibility they would be giving their lives for their country.
On Sept. 11 the men and women who died, including those at the Pentagon, never had a chance and never even knew they were targeted. Since innocent civilians were targeted by the terrorists, I don't consider what they did to be an act of war. It was an act of mass murder. But it forced us into a war against terrorists.
Osama bin Laden has stated that his goal is the destruction of the United States, believing we will eventually divide into many individual states with disparate self-interests. In recent months, with the controversy regarding the state flag, one might think we were bent on fulfilling his wish for him.
But the terrorists' actions have backfired. They killed thousands of people but they reunited our nation. We're not the Union and the Confederacy, nor are we 50 individual states. We're the United States of America.
Jim Murrah, Martinez, Ga.
Since the tragic events of Sept. 11, much concern has been raised about how to return to normal. Instead of returning to normal, Americans should look forward.
We have learned some bitter lessons about poor airport security, lack of human intelligence on extremist groups, and the illusion that "it couldn't happen here." We live in a world that has people (both at home and abroad) who are full of hatred toward those with different views.
I am optimistic that, in the future, security and intelligence will be improved. The actions of the overwhelming majority of Americans have shown the tolerance and compassion toward others in times of crisis. When the crisis passes (and it shall), I hope people will continue to show civility, talk and listen to children about their concerns, give blood, wave to a fireman or policeman and say "thanks."
We cannot return to a period of national and personal isolation. We must move forward to a period of caring and resolve. It is a new century, but America can shine again with old-fashioned virtues of faith, hope and charity.
Tommy Godbee, Augusta
There's a way that citizens of the United States and the free world can strike a decisive blow to the unseen, unknown enemy we find ourselves facing. We need to drain their bank accounts and deny them all finances.
If these people bought plane tickets, paid for flight training, rented hotel rooms etc., using credit cards, then there are account numbers, records of transactions, and audit trails.
The free world and the U.S. have the brightest and best financial experts. We have the brightest and best computer experts and we even have the brightest and best hackers in the world.
Most of these people are under 40 years of age. The world trade organizations were the hardest hit by these terrorists. This group of people and the survivors of these companies need to mobilize all their resources to find, empty or divert any account that is used to fund hate of any kind around the world. This is unconventional warfare and needs to be fought with our most powerful unconventional financial weapons.
Please don't misunderstand me, I am a hawk and would gladly volunteer to be on the first retaliatory strike sent against the terrorists if they would let me go. However, a more permanent solution to world terrorism would be to deny them the ability to fund such operations and this can only be done through a cooperative effort of the world financial institutions.
David Iverson, Evans, Ga.(Editor's note: The writer is a retired U.S. Army colonel.)
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