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September 11th Tribute Writings
How Could You?

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[Written September 11, 2001]
AN OPEN LETTER TO TERRORISTS
Copyright Jim Willis 2001

I don't know your name, or names - we may never know who you are - so I can't address you personally. Today, you killed several thousands of our friends...perhaps not people who we knew personally, but people like us. People who worked hard to make a living, who loved someone, who were loved by someone, who worried about making a better life for their children and grandchildren, who believed in God and the American Dream, who criticized this country for its insufficiencies and cared enough to try and change things and ensure a better future, not just for us, but for the world. People who leave behind scores of loved ones, friends, pets, neighbors, coworkers, and members of their faiths. Perhaps even people who derived from your own country and who sought refuge here. Your act was a slaughter of the innocents.

You are like an insidious cancer that strikes without warning, ravages bodies, tears families apart, and in the end can never destroy the soul. You are the ultimate coward.

You may topple our buildings, collapse our communication systems, disrupt our government, crash our markets, and leave behind the carnage of bodies, but you will never destroy the soul of America. We made this country from the bits and pieces of the rest of the world; we took the best, the worst of every culture and nationality, race and creed, and made an alloy that may be dented, but not even a trial by fire can melt.

I don't know what god you believe in, or what hateful rhetoric you espouse, or what your misguided political beliefs might be that allows you to do what you did today without a fear of eternal damnation. I only know that you may win a battle or two, but you will never win this war. We have the entire history of the world on our side, and no dictator, despot, or madman has survived as long as America has thrived and prospered. If you accomplished anything at all today, it was to give America a wake-up call, and we will now rise up stronger than before. You are defeated before you've even begun, there in your private hell and later in your eternal one. Someday your people may even need our help, and because we are America, we would respond.

May God bless the friends we lost, their families, friends, neighbors and coworkers. We will help them rebuild from the ashes. May God continue to bless America, help her to protect us all, and may she continue to shine as a beacon of democracy and hope to the rest of the world.

********
In deepest sympathy to those who have lost a loved one.

THE EAGLE HAS BEEN AWAKENED
Copyright Jim Willis 2001

The eagle has been awakened,
by the screams of humanity,
by the roar of countless souls sent heavenward,
by the cries of children,
by the sobs, the weeping amidst falling debris.

She has flexed her talons
and spread her wings.
Her golden eyes flicker
as she peers through the billowing smoke and flames.

She is searching for a sign,
a scurry, a rustle, the squeak of fear.
Be very afraid, you who hate democracy,
who are willing to spill the blood of innocents.
Her justice is swift and her retribution is terrible.

Until she perches again, alert,
waiting and watching,
for the peace of a new day.
********

TO OUR REDEEMERS
Copyright Jim Willis 2001

We had grown complacent,
some had worshipped greed,
some ignored friends and family,
those who suffered, those in need.

We did not know we'd lose you,
one bright September morn,
and now we weep and curse,
the loss that we must mourn.

We wish that we had told you,
how much you meant to us,
as you went to work that day,
to forgive ourselves we must.

Now as we sort through rubble,
in grief and terrible pain,
we want to tell you now,
you did not die in vain.

The next morning we awoke,
a resolve was made anew,
it could have happened to any,
the tragedy that struck you.

Now the world has come together,
against a common sin,
and because of your example,
this war we know we'll win.

The future is uncertain,
but we are unafraid,
we are each a little stronger,
because of the price you paid.

Two thousand years since one man died
to save our eternal souls,
your cross was made of steel and glass,
and you died to make us whole.
*******