On Sept. 11, 2001, Joe Scarborough was publisher emeritus of the Independent Florida Sun, one of the many names for our weekly newspaper. He wrote this column while our community was coping with the terrorist attacks on our nation.
From The Pub
By Joe Scarborough
Independent Florida Sun, 9/14/01
In the end, it was a really stupid thing to do.
Forget the moral dimensions of this tragedy for a second. Put aside your anger, the heartbreaking human loss and the visceral need for revenge. Instead, view this military attack from the eyes of our enemies.
They hate America and American capitalism. They dream of the day when our empire is reduced to dust and our worldwide influence fades. They pray to their god for the death of the great Satan.
So, some genius in our enemy’s camp got the bright idea that they could achieve their goals by ramming a few airplanes filled with innocent civilians into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. After completing the bloody deeds, their allies took to the streets to shout “Glory to God.”
Lessons of History
But I respectfully submit that instead they should have been cursing their leaders for sticking their finger in Uncle Sam’s face.
Maybe these martyrs should have taken time out from reading their Arabic pilot’s manual to glance at some history books. If they’d only given me a call last week, I would have recommended Gibbons’ “The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire,” or a biography on Napoleon.
The French military genius once said that when your enemy is destroying himself, don’t interfere.
America’s always been at its materialistic, self-indulgent worst during the best of times. Economic wealth has always softened our resolve and made us wary of sacrifice. The true strength of America’s character has always been shown through a time of crisis, during depressions and world wars.
Just as the Roman character sustained that great empire against the unceasing attacks of Hannibal, the American character has always sustained our great republic in the face of epic challenges.
After their successful attack on Pearl Harbor, Japanese military officials who executed the operation celebrated their crushing surprise victory over the United States. But one who held his applause was Admiral Yamamoto. Grim-faced, the leader of the Japanese attack looked at his cheerful compatriots and said simply, “I’m afraid we have awakened a sleeping giant.”
An Angry Giant
Two years later, Yamamoto was dead, and four years later, the Japanese empire was reduced to rubble.
I suspect it will take far less than four years of our 21st century enemies to learn that their actions will bring horrific consequences.
I’m not being nationalistic, I’m simply reporting the facts that history will bear out.
We are Americans. We will awaken from our sleep. We will awaken from our sleep and we will rebuild these three buildings. We will be bigger, better and more secure. And we as a nation will rise from the ashes to begin building the next American century.
And may God help those who find themselves in the path of an angry giant awakened from his peaceful sleep.