Turning September 11 into a National Day of Service attempts to make us forget 9/11. Amber Pawlik

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September 11th Should not be Hijacked as a Day of Service

September 11, 2001 was an unimaginable, horrific day. Islamic terrorists hijacked commercial airplanes with the intent to use the planes as weapons by crashing them into buildings. Two planes crashed into the World Trade Center, causing both towers to collapse and thousands to die. A third plane crashed into the Pentagon, killing many and destroying a sizable portion of the building. The final plane was destined for the White House. It never reached its destination after American heroes on the plane overcame the terrorists and foiled their intentions, although unfortunately crashing into Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Nearly 3,000 Americans lost their lives due to the terrorists’ actions.

If you would have asked me what the worst thing that could have happened after September 11th was, aside from not doing anything in retaliation, I would have said that we forgot about it. President Obama signing legislation authorizing September 11th to be a “National Day of Service and Remembrance” attempts to do just that.

It seems so simple and logical that September 11th should be a somber day of remembrance. It should be filled with candlelight vigils, thoughtful remembrances and, above all, a commitment to stay vigilant against terrorism. At first blush, turning it into a Day of Service seems ridiculously tacky—brought to us by the same administration that gave the Queen of England an iPod. But when one remembers what September 11th was, and what the focus of that day should be—remembering the victims and reminding us of the enemy we still face to this day—trying to hijack the day for any other ends is an uproariously evil act and is meant in every way to uproot America’s values.

The issue of volunteering has long been debated. One debate revolves around if children should be required (forced) to do volunteer work before graduating high school. A "National Day of Service" raises a question if the government should be in the business of encouraging its citizens' labor to be committed towards one end or another. The heart of the issue is if men are free and able to use their labor towards ends that they see beneficial to them or if their labor is to be used to serve the interests of other people. It is a debate of enlightened self-interest versus altruism; capitalism versus socialism. Our country, founded on the principles of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, was found on the former. The government has no business telling its citizens that a particular day is going to be a Day of Service.

According to the official website for the “Day of Service”, http://911dayofservice.org/, the video tells us that they are just asking us to do one good deed on September 11th.

The implicit message seems to be that a million good deeds can make up, somehow, for the bad in the world, such as terrorism. People call this "karma." This is one of the uproarious evils of this Day of Service: terrorism is not going to be stopped by a million good deeds.  The terrorists who planned the attacks were hunted down and brought to appropriate justice by courageous soldiers in the United States and ally militaries. These soldiers are one of the groups that the Day of Service is attempting to make us forget.

The Day of Service is meant to play on guilt. Why are Americans, the victims, asked to do a good deed, and not those from the Muslim world? The administration is directly saying to us: “yes, Americans you are too affluent and happy, start serving!” This is dangerously close to those who, immediately after September 11th, were pointing their fingers at fellow Americans, asking, “What did we do to deserve this?” Americans should not, in any way, be made to feel guilty on September 11th. Let me make this clear to Obama and all others: Americans are not guilty and should not be the ones pressured into doing “good deeds.”

The Day of Service is blatantly trying to exploit unity on September 11th. After September 11, 2001, the entire country was united. While Americans come together to reflect and show support for one another this year, we have President Obama and others pushing their socialist agenda on us. They want us to take our feelings of mourning and unity and route those feelings into their causes.

One may argue that the Day of Service is meant to make the nation heal and move past the pain of 9/11. That is fine if a person heals this way. But not everyone heals in this same way. How to react, heal, or feel after 9/11 is not something the government should be imposing on the American people.

To be sure, community service is a good, benevolent thing. Americans are known the world over for their overwhelming generosity. Such generosity is made possible by our success. Service is only possible by people who are healthy, strong, and financially stable. From this success, they are able to help others in unfortunate situations, such as a child stricken with cancer or a soldier injured in war. Their choice of charity is driven by their values and their timetable, whether they want to support medical research, give to soldiers, give directly to those in need, or whatever they choose.

But for the government to come in and declare a national day of service is edging on compulsory service—and to do it on September 11th is just plain unforgivable. The government should not tell its citizens what to do or how to act (minus the obvious of ensuring its citizens are not harming each other). It reveals exactly how the administration sees the American populace: as a means to an end; that we are here to serve them and their agenda, not the other way around.

This is a moral battle with freedom, prosperity and happiness in one corner and altruism and socialism in the other. This moral issue was in fact drawn out dramatically on September 11, 2001. The terrorists selected their targets for practical as well as symbolic reasons. The victims of the attacks represented everything that is right about America.

The World Trade Center housed some of the brightest minds in America. Inside of the World Trade Center were people hard at work, thinking of ways to build things faster, better, and cheaper. They invested in new businesses, making our economy stronger. Their desire for profit did not hurt others but rather wholly helped the economy and America by creating jobs and businesses in a win-win situation. They can and should be considered the Atlas of the economy—those who hold it up.

In the Pentagon were people dedicated to keeping this country safe. They are representative of the U.S. military, who courageously stand up to our enemies and allow Americans to wake up every day in peace.

The men and women on Flight 93 revealed the heart of America: regular Americans rose up as heroes when the time called for it.

In the economic and military conditions we face now, it is exactly the type of people who were victims of the September 11th attacks that we need to honor and embrace: the producers, the soldiers, and every day, honorable Americans. It is obvious that Obama knows nothing about these people. While the economy is in a recession, he is proposing higher burdens on American producers and taxpayers, especially the very rich, with socialized health care. Meanwhile, he is gutting our military. Who exactly the victims of September 11th were and all of the implications of what the Islamic terrorists were attacking that day is another thing the Day of Service is attempting to make us forget.

September 11, 2001 was for me, just like most in my generation, a defining political moment. We were young and watched something we could have never imagined. It will imprint us and our politics for the rest of our lives, which is what those in political power right now are afraid of. Yes, I will remember and honor it: as a day when Islamic terrorists attacked American soil; a day of patriotism; a day to honor the fallen; a day to thank a soldier; a day to be thankful for my family; and a day to work and to live … not as a day to turn it into a platform for socialism. 

Amber Pawlik
September 6, 2009

Islam on Trial: The Prosecution’s Case
Amber Pawlik
An article that argues that the violent ideology of Islam is the root of Islamic terrorism. Until we challenge Islam ideologically, Islamic terrorism will not be defeated. It includes a statistical study of the Koran which found over 50% of it is hatred of infidels. 16 pages long.

This article is protected under the US Copyright Act of 1976. No part may be copied.

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