We shouldn't need reminders. Sept. 11 sat in our guts and churned and burned and made us sick for months.
How could we forget the horror? The repeated images of those fiery explosions, the surreal collapse of the twin towers, the mammoth plumes of smoke billowing between the urban canyons? The 3,000-plus who died, the injured, the heartbroken? The months of grisly excavating and sifting and re-burying?
How could we ever forget the fear that it might happen again? Or that the anthrax attacks were a second wave of the same cascading sea of terror that swept over us on 9-11?
The answer, of course, is that we have not forgotten. We never will. But as the day becomes more distant, so do the feelings - and the awakening in the American psyche that told us all the dangers of modern life had landed on our shores.
Thus, an occasional reminder of the dangers we continue to face is a necessary evil.
Enter the al-Qaida tapes.
The videos obtained in Afghanistan by CNN remind us that as we go about our daily lives, there are some in the world who would take those lives from us.
In a sickly organized and workmanlike manner, they train and experiment and clock in every morning at Terror Inc. to prepare for their next assault on our freedom.
And, ominously, the videos demonstrate that they poison dogs and practice drive-by assassinations, for two principal reasons: 1) because they can, and 2) because they hate.
Those tapes serve as a reminder of our need for eternal vigilance - and as proof that the terrorists have built their lives around taking others' lives.
We cannot let that fact slip out of the forefront of our minds.