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In my lifetime, there has never been a bigger story than the events that took place on September 11, 2001. When 19 Al Qaeda terrorists hijacked four commercial planes and carried out their suicide attacks, murdering 3,000 people — it changed us.
Before 9/11, Americans had become complacent. We took our security and our freedoms for granted and assumed it would always be there for us. We fell asleep at liberty's wheel and were slapped into reality in a few, fateful moments.
Friday is a day of remembrance. We cannot allow ourselves to slip back into our pre-9/11 ignorance or we will be doomed to let history repeat itself. That is why we must never forget the sights and sounds from what started as a glorious Tuesday September morning in 2001.
But as I watch the memorial services here in Manhattan, I can't help but notice that the hole in the ground where the World Trade Center once stood so mightily is still a just a hole in the ground.
Year after year it's the same thing.
Are you telling me that eight years is too little time, in America today, to construct a high-rise building? Is this the really the best we can do?
When we built the Empire State Building, construction began on March 17, 1930. After 57,000 tons of steel, 3,400 workers and just 400 days, it opened on May 1, 1931.
The Hoover Dam, a 1,200-foot long and 700-foot tall concrete dam in the middle of nowhere, was started in 1931 and finished just five years later. Over 100 people died building it.
When Americans want to do something, we find a way to get it done. It's who we are or at least it's who we were.
These two events happened in the 1930s; do we have less imagination now? Do we have less technology than we did in 1930? Less spirit or drive?
We've been waiting eight years now for the new Freedom tower and we still have a hole in the ground. Four hundred days to build the Empire State Building and 2,920 days to have this?
I believe if it were up to you or me, the Freedom Tower would have been done years ago and it would be towers — not tower — because we would have built both of them the way they were before, except they would have been better and stronger and my guess is they would have been 25 stories taller. And have a big, fat "come and try that again" sign on top. We would have built it with our bare hands if we had to because that's what Americans do. We fail or we face a crisis and we make things better.
I believe the only reason we haven't rebuilt isn't because of Americans; it's because we're being held back — by politicians, special interest groups, unions, political correctness, you name it.
Did you know it's not the "Freedom Tower" anymore? It's going to be One World Trade. Why? Freedom tower — ooh, yeah, that might be too offensive and we want to make sure we have the occupancy. Who could possibly find something offensive about freedom? Well, China for one. But I don't want anyone in the "Freedom Tower" who is offended by freedom, do you?
Today, on 9/11, remember the victims, but also remember why we were attacked.
We were attacked by the enemies of freedom. What better way to remember the fallen than to build a tower named after the very thing they died for? To remind us of who they were and who we are.
We have forgotten: We're not Europeans, we're Americans! We run in to burning buildings, not away from them. We are a good and decent people and we are free. Although, it seems every day more and more, it's becoming clear that all those things we did to stay free are going to eventually end up enslaving us. Grab it while you can — you can't bottle it, you can't really hold on to it, but you can live it.
You can pursue your dreams here. People aren't risking their lives to leave oppressive countries in order to go to France. How many in Hollywood are paddling an inner tube to get to Cuba? They come to America because of who we are, who we've always been.
Get the politicians, the special interest groups and everybody else the hell out of the way, and let Americans build the "Freedom Tower." Send a message to the world: You cannot keep us down; anything you destroy will only make us stronger.
And here's a message to those in Washington: Get the hell out of the way. That scar on the end of this island is your monument. That's what you do with a tragedy or an emergency. Beat it! Let's give Americans a chance to do it themselves. Because the American spirit is still alive; it may have been dormant for a while — dazed and confused, held down by people who are trying to put a cap on American ingenuity — but I believe it's about to come out of the smoke, dust itself off and declare itself free again.
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