Originally Published: September 11, 2004 7 a.m.
Three years ago today, life in America changed forever when terrorists took over four airliners.
They ran two into the twin towers of New York's World Trade Center, one into the Pentagon and fell short with one possibly intended for the Capitol or White House when passengers forced it down in rural Pennsylvania.
We need to honor those innocents who perished in the attacks and the fighting men and women who have suffered and died since then in Afghanistan and Iraq.
But what's far more important, we must not forget that we are at war, and we will be for some time.
Our enemy does not think the way we do, and we need to realize that or forget it at our peril. In Arab culture, time is not critical. They hold grudges for centuries and they are willing to wait decades before striking.
Practitioners of Islam, whether the mainstream version or the perverse form that drives al-Qaeda, live their faith and think nothing of giving their lives to fulfill it.
We will not achieve the "fast, fast, fast" relief from this menace that most Americans have come to expect in their culture.
A substantial part of the world population dislikes us and a portion of that group wants to kill us and is willing to die to kill us. Those people are willing to plan and wait for years for their chance to do so – likely right at the moment we drop our guard and think we can go back to business as usual.
Our need to be vigilant and willing to sacrifice will not end on our schedule. We must never forget 9-11 and never let our guard down.