From the desk

Ten years ago our country was changed—for better or worse. Our very essence as a free nation was challenged by the perverse attacks of a corrupt sect of people claiming to act in the name of religion.

Ask any American about that day, and they can tell you where they were and what they were doing. The events have been embedded into our being.

For many at Liberty University, this is the first act of terrorism we ever encountered—the first rumor of war we can remember.

I was almost 11 years old.

I was sitting in my fifth grade science class at Westminster Christian School located just outside of Chicago. All of the teachers were called over the intercom system to meet in the hallway.

As we sat and waited, I can remember feeling confused. Everything seemed off, but no one knew why.

Then, they told us.

Shock, panic, fear and a surreal sense of loss is all I can remember. My mom was out of town, and I couldn’t remember where she was. I was only 10.

We huddled together in the center of the gymnasium around a television and watched the events unfold. No one knew if Chicago could be next, or if it was over. Everyone was crying, but no one fully understood what had happened that day.

Little did we know, as grade school children, that that day marked not only the beginning of a war that we—people in my class and my generation—would fight, but also the beginning of a unity stronger than our nation had ever known.

“Terrorist attacks can shake the foundations of our biggest buildings, but they cannot touch the foundation of America,” President George W. Bush said in his Sept. 11 address to the nation. “These acts shatter steel, but they cannot dent the steel of American resolve. America was targeted for attack because we’re the brightest beacon for freedom and opportunity in the world. And no one will keep that light from shining.”

Over the past 10 years, these words have proven themselves truer than I think even the President himself thought they would.

We have fought hard a war that was begun on soil created for freedom, yet those who attacked us wanted to oppress those freedoms we hold dear.

The men and women who have given their lives for our nation during this war have each carried us one step closer to justice.

Through a great loss, our nation has claimed a great victory. We have proven that we are, “One nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

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