A thank you note to September 11 terrorists

Through all of the sordid events spawned since the infamous attacks of Sept. 11, one thing many people have neglected is giving a moment of thanks to those crazed religious zealots who are responsible.

While this list might not be complete, it is at least a beginning of the reasons why I now feel somewhat indebted to Osama bin Laden and his minions.

Thank you, for reminding me our great nation was founded on the basis of freedom so that we would have the right to choose the meaningful factors of our lives, such as religion. Whether it be Christianity, Islam, Judaism or otherwise, our founding fathers realized the right to worship as one pleases is essential to freedom, rather than imposing a state-mandated sect upon the masses and punishing those who don’t fall into line.

On that note, thank you for reaffirming the significance of the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Even though a trip through airport security might require a few extra checks and inspections, we can still feel secure the civil liberties we were born and raised with will remain intact. Protestors will continue to march, the media will remain critical and America will move on and prosper. Hopefully, while resolving this situation, our justice system will exercise caution towards these liberties as they pursue the perpetrators and will refrain from jailing or interrogating suspects based solely on their race or beliefs.

Thank you for exposing the generosity and goodwill of my fellow countrymen, who responded in a swift and unselfish manner to aid those affected by the tragedies. From the very moment those fanatics wreaked havoc upon our nation citizens have donated money, blood, food, time and everything between to help those who were senselessly maimed. Never before have I felt so secure in the American principle of brotherly love.

Thank you for providing me with the opportunity to have confidence in our Commander In Chief George W. Bush. The “leader of the infidels,” as bin Laden has affectionately proclaimed, has managed to hold together a distraught nation through these queasy, vulnerable times. Once seen as a bumbling, incoherent puppet to some Americans – including myself – before these events, Bush now appears to embody the leadership qualities that were exemplified by great past presidents of our country. While he might not have cemented his place among the names of Lincoln, Roosevelt and Eisenhower yet, the way he has handled this situation and the steps he takes in the future could lead to such standing.

Thank you for unifying a world of differing nations under a common cause. While there might be a number of regimes that understand your religious aims, not even the government of Afghanistan that harbors your operations will condone the atrocities you have committed. Even countries we have had troubled relations within the past, such as China and Iran, have sent their condolences regarding the tragedies and have even started to show signs of involvement in the war against terrorism. While it might not be as significant as desired, the notion Iran would aid in tracking down or helping American soldiers could be an indication of hospitable affairs for the future.

Thank you for playing the role of a national enemy we haven’t seen since the Cold War and the age of communist hysteria. By acting in this manner you have given us an adversary to despise as a whole, a reason to rally around the ideals of America and an example of a morally corrupt individual to teach our children about the perils of hatred and intolerance. Some might say Saddam Hussein had filled this position since the Gulf War, but he never appeared to be the threat you have evolved into. He never hit us in our homeland.

Thank you for opening my eyes to the fact heroes are not those who throw touchdown passes, hit homeruns or sink three-point plays, but the dedicated men and women who put their lives on the line daily to act as civil servants for the rest of us. The heroic actions of the New York City Police and Fire Departments come instantly to mind as well as the armed forces acting on our behalf overseas fighting for the freedoms of those of us here at home. The next time I hear about a parade honoring the World Series or Super Bowl champions, I’ll have to wonder how long it has been since we commemorated the work of these brave Americans.

Thank you for providing the inspiration to turn the stars and stripes into an everyday symbol of Americana again. For a while it seemed as if the only places you could see the flag fly in public were at sporting events or at the local schools. Now, Old Glory is flying around every corner of the country and hanging from the front porch of nearly every house in the neighborhood. It’s the most beautiful, comforting sight to run across when you’re coming home from a hard day’s work.

While this list might be far from complete, it should do a decent job of summarizing my sentiment. Thank you, bin Laden and company, for again making me proud to be an American.


Tim Neuenschwander is a senior in the Inter-College Program. He welcomes comments at [email protected].
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