You and I have a responsibility to preserve for our children the freedoms we have as intended by our forefathers, but we should never abandon the spirit of the American Revolution. As we face the 10-year anniversary of 9/11, we look back at the past decade and reflect on a very real terror that exists, and we should ponder what terrorists have stolen from us since CNN filmed the Trade Center towers fall down before our eyes. As a result of 9/11, we quickly saw the Patriot Act implemented, which expanded government power and surveillance. Our response to terrorism has chipped away at our basic freedoms.
Shortly after the Murrah Federal Building was bombed, killing many innocent Americans in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, Congress rapidly passed significant changes to United States immigration policy. At that time, there were rumors that Muslim extremists bombed the federal building, when in fact the bombing was carried out by a domestic anti-government militia movement. Now we see those same anti-government activists within the Tea Party movement.
Have we allowed domestic and foreign terrorists to control our policies, and thus allowed them to create a deep-seated fear within us? And have these policies continued to chip away at our freedoms? Will the United States remain as a beacon to the whole world?
We have systematically watched one man, John Tanton, launch multiple organizations that continue to try to reduce our freedoms. He has managed to use domestic and foreign terrorist attacks to instill fear in Americans to embrace a protectionist and restrictionist outlook. His organizations are responsible for implementing "Big Brother" laws -- laws requiring people to prove you were born in the United States. And now laws are being implemented that strip away the rights of American citizens, even those born on American soil.
We cannot allow fear to dominate our lives and dictate American policies that take away more of our freedoms. Americans believe in freedom -- it is the cornerstone of our democracy. We must never allow terrorist attacks to take a foothold against what we stand for. We should fight back against terrorism, but we should do so while preserving our freedoms. We should not allow restrictionist and protectionist cowards to dominate the American message anymore, or allow them to frighten us.
As we reflect back upon the catastrophic events of 9/11, let us also remember the long history of freedom fighters that have helped shape our nation into what it is today.
Alexander Hamilton said, "A nation which can prefer disgrace to danger is prepared for a master, and deserves one."
Martin Luther King, Jr. said, "Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. And so we must straighten our backs and work for our freedom."
John F. Kennedy said, "In the long history of the world, only a few generations have been granted the role of defending freedom in its hour of maximum danger. I do not shrink from this responsibility -- I welcome it. ... The energy, the faith, the devotion which we bring to this endeavor will light our country and all who serve it -- and the glow from that fire can truly light the world."
Ronald Reagan once said, "Not too long ago, two friends of mine were talking to a Cuban refugee, a businessman who had escaped from Castro, and in the midst of his story one of my friends turned to the other and said, "We don't know how lucky we are." And the Cuban stopped and said, "How lucky you are? I had someplace to escape to." And in that sentence he told us the entire story. If we lose freedom here, there's no place to escape to. This is the last stand on earth."
A decade has come and gone since the attacks. Will Americans continue to allow domestic and foreign terrorists to chip away at our freedoms? Or will we sentence ourselves to take the final step into a thousand years of darkness? Our freedoms will inevitably be threatened again and again, but it is our responsibility to future generations of Americans to continue the spirit of the American Revolution. We cannot allow ourselves to be ruled by fear anymore -- because freedom fighters would rather die on our feet than on our knees.
Today, let us remember to take the last stand on earth against those who are enemies of freedom.