As the seventeenth anniversary of that fateful time in American history approaches, the memories of that day and the days afterwards spring vividly into my consciousness as images of America in shock and confusion, as I had never seen.
I will never forget where I was and what I was doing. I was in Nashville taking care of some business, had no access to TV, and when Charlie Jr. called me and told me about it, I remember thinking that the first plane that crashed into the trade tower was a terrible commercial airline accident. And then when the second plane hit, I realized that my country was under attack.
Of course, a little later in the day, when yet another plane crashed into the Pentagon and into a field in Pennsylvania, it became abundantly clear what was happening, but it was increasingly more confusing about who was doing it and just how far it would go.
Were there more planes that had been commandeered and were still in the air on the way to a crash destination?
Were there underground cells around the country who would bring the attacks to the streets?
Within a few hours, the confusion turned to anger, and then the anger turned to white-hot fury. And America only waited for the culprit to be identified to know who to vent their vengeance toward.
As our anger boiled, our patriotism bubbled to the top, and America came together as I had not experienced it since the “we’re all in this thing together” days of the Second World War.
Absolutely nobody would have had the guts to kneel during the playing of the National Anthem then, and American flags were on display everywhere.
We were playing that weekend in Harrison, Arkansas, and I’ll never forget the sights on the drive out. Old Glory was flying from the backs of 18 wheelers, radio aerials, flagpoles and buildings. And the fast food marquees all along the highway carried slogans like “God bless America” and “Pray for America.”
All the stores were sold out of American flags. You couldn’t buy one anywhere, and many newspapers printed a full-page flag so people could at least have a paper one.
America was locked and loaded and ready to rain vengeance down on the guilty. Our military was on high alert, all non-military air traffic was grounded, the president was moved to a safe strategic site and we all became “minutemen” to some extent that day as shotguns and rifles were within easy reach. We watched the sky and the streets.
A lot has happened in these short 17 years. We have fought two wars, both by someone else’s rules of engagement, in many instances tying the hands of our military in a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” situation that made a clear win in either war impossible.
We had a president for eight years who started his term by bowing to the king of a country where the scumbags who flew the planes that killed nearly 3,000 Americans in one fell swoop were born.
The same president instigated a program to allow thousands from nations who hate us and had not been properly vetted to come into our country.
He also lifted sanctions and sent a planeload of cash to the world’s number one exporter of terrorism and drew meaningless red lines that our enemies crossed with impunity.
So here we are in 2018, still the number one terrorist target in the world, with a new president who has wreaked havoc on ISIS, revoked the ridiculously one-sided treaty with Iran, beefed up our military, and, so far, has stood behind the things he has said he was going to.
Are we safer?
I think so, in a cautious sort of way.
Would we react with instant and white-hot fury to any attack on America?
I think so, and I believe our enemies know that.
The only good terrorist is a dead terrorist, and if and when America is attacked, it is our job to make as many that way as we possibly can.
What do you think?
Pray for our troops, our police and the peace of Jerusalem
God Bless America
Charlie Daniels is a legendary American singer, song writer, guitarist, and fiddler famous for his contributions to country and southern rock music. Daniels has been active as a singer since the early 1950s. He was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry on January 24, 2008.