In November 2001, U.S.-backed Northern Alliance guerrillas took control of Kabul, the Afghan capital, and for the first time in five years, the people of that region were no longer under Taliban rule. Their joy was broadcast throughout the world as they flew kites in the streets, listened to music, shaved their beards and let their children play with toys -- all harmless personal choices that were outlawed by their Taliban enforcers.
Today the Taliban have made a fierce and bloody comeback in several northern provinces and deadly attacks continue to plague the Afghan capital. With help from NATO soldiers the Afghan people are fighting to defy Taliban threats and retain their freedoms.
As Americans, we are blessed to live in a country that I believe was divinely endowed with the gift of choice. Unlike Taliban-controlled Afghanistan, we can send our daughters to school, listen to music, travel where we wish, bear arms and worship God as our own hearts dictate. We're not told how many children we can have, what church we must attend, or what job we must perform.
But a free America was no accident. I believe the men and women who founded this country were inspired by God to write the Constitution in a way that would ensure our personal freedoms. I believe the brave soldiers who fought to protect our freedoms were often blessed with divine intervention.
Over the past two centuries, this God-given freedom did not go unnoticed by the world, as evidenced by most of our ancestors who traveled across vast oceans at great sacrifice to obtain it.
One of the positive things we've all seen arise from the dust of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks is a nation that no longer veils its belief in God. Only a few short years ago, many Americans in the public eye avoided comments about God or prayer, being afraid to offend such groups as the American Civil Liberties Union. But now, even our top government officials and business leaders are comfortable expressing their belief in God and calling on the public to petition Him for help and protection in these troubled times.
This common acknowledgment of God's hand in our nation's destiny is refreshing and reassuring.
As a father, one of the most disappointing things that can happen in my life is when my children don't recognize the good things I try to give them. Perhaps our Heavenly Father feels much the same way about His children. At least that's what I believe -- and in America, it's OK to believe.
Thank you to all our soldiers who are working to protect these freedoms at home and abroad - especially one named Brian.