11 September 2008

Seven Years Ago Today

On 11 September 2001, I was in Bosnia, participating in the fifth year of President Clinton's one-year Balkans peacekeeping mission. At about 1530 hours local time, I received a radio call informing me that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center. Fortunately, my team had just completed our mission, and we were able to return to our base camp before everything went into lockdown mode.

As I watched the television coverage, two thoughts filled my mind:

1. The Latin sentence "Oderint dum metuant."

2. The third stanza of "The Star-Spangled Banner":

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle's confusion
A home and a country should leave us no more?
Their blood has washed out their foul footstep's pollution.

No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave,
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Seven years (and two more mobilizations) later, both thoughts still define my view of the ongoing war against those who would seek to destroy all I hold dear.

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