I claim no credit for the following. They came to me, from a couple of sources, via the 7th Sea GMserver. Read and (if you would) PLEASE pass them on by whatever means you choose.
Whatever else happens, these words are worth remembering.
A few men - not more than fifteen, according to the information available - armed with knives, with box cutters and threats of bombs. Four civilian aircraft. This, apparently, is all it takes to change the world. That, and hate.
I'm going to talk about love.
The kind of love that lets a man put his two-month-old child into someone else's arms so he can try to help make sure that the doomed aircraft he is riding on is not used as a flying bomb.
The kind of love that makes a firefighter run into a teetering skyscraper in the hope that he can rescue the people trapped inside, only to have that building collapse on him and more than a hundred of his brother firefighters.
The kind of love that allows another firefighter to shrug off his injuries, saying, "Whadya expect? I'm a New Yorker!" and then burst into tears, thinking of his fallen buddy, who has ten children.
The kind of love that creates a convoy of physicians and nurses heading for New York City, riding in Ambulances and their own vehicles, not knowing how much help they can be, but just wanting to help.
The kind of love that causes people the country over to stop and give blood, because that's the only way they can help.
The kind of love that permits a community like ours to put aside everything to come together and stand against those who would harm our own.
This country, and the free world beside us, stands shocked and dismayed. We are angry, and justifiably so. We have been attacked by people with no desire but to make us afraid, to make us hurt, perhaps even to make us hate the way they do. Maybe they do this because they know no other way; I personally do not care for their motives. I know that whatever their ultimate goals, they have failed already. They attempted to sow fear, and instead reaped heroism.
We are dealing with people who will die in order to kill, so great is their hate. But they are dealing with a people who will give their lives to save the lives of people they don't even know, so great is our love.
In the end, how can they possibly stand against that?
This is an open letter to the person or persons who masterminded the terrorist attacks on the U.S., September 11, 2001
You started with every advantage. You took us unawares. You struck your hardest blow, without scruples, without remorse. Had you been able to strike us harder still, you would have done so without hesitation. You stacked up bodies like cordwood.. You undoubtedly celebrated every new scene of carnage, every report of disaster, thinking that you had won a great victory in whatever war you fight against us.
But you are wrong. We defeated you.
Your weapons were stealth, stolen aircraft, and hatred. With them you killed thousands and thought it victory.
Our only weapon was courage, and with it we took your victory from you.
The genius and creativity of our engineers, who designed the World Trade Center to absorb even your heaviest blows and remain standing for the precious minutes that saved the lives of thousands - they defeated you.
Every man, woman, and child who walked, crawled, or was carried from the scenes of your crimes was a victory, snatched from your murderous jaws. Every hero who saved another doubly so.
Every fireman, every police officer, every civilian who ran into those doomed buildings to save others, and perished themselves for their efforts, defeated your plans. You did not steal their lives as you sought to do - they were given freely by men and women braver by far than you, who hide in darkness, will ever be. These lives, even lost, count as our victory, and your defeat.
The passengers on the airliners you hijacked who braved the wrath of your fanatics in order to telephone warnings of your activities, who fought back against your plans at the cost of their own lives - these too kept victory from you.
Those who jumped from the top of the World Trade center - who as the last act of their lives chose the manner in which they would die, rather than having it dictated by your actions - they too defeated you.
Every family who will carry the memory of a loved one in their heart, never letting it die - each of these defeat you as well.
The doctors, nurses, EMTs, fireman, rescue workers, volunteers - every person who gave of themselves until they could give no more on the mere chance that they could lower your body count by a single human life - robbed you of that which you most sought, and so stole victory from you.
Every pint of donated blood was a blow against your victory.
Every american who watched and wept tears of sorrow or rage at your cowardly attack, who offered thoughts or prayers to the dead and the grieving, yet who refused to give in to anger or fear or sadness, defeated your plans.
Yes you hurt us, whoever you might be. Hurt us badly. You cut us to the heart with your actions. But if you think this is a victory for you - think again.