Anniversary reminds us to remain vigilant

Published 7:30 pm Tuesday, September 10, 2019

At 8:45 a.m, 18 years ago to the date, an American Airlines Boeing 767 loaded with 20,000 gallons of jet fuel crashed into the north tower of the World Trade Center in New York City. For those who can remember the world before they can also recognize how much the world has changed after. Those who can scarcely remember before September 11th, 2001, have grown up in the shadow of that infamous day.

If you’re like me, you can probably recall with vivid detail the events of that day, almost to minute detail. For most of us, of age that can remember, it has been memorialized into our collective consciousness.

The litany of changes that have ensued since 9/11 have affected everyone’s lives, some on a daily basis and some less so, but the changes have come. If you flew regularly before you definitely noticed the changes after. The two wars and other military engagements since 9/11 have taken many lives, and drastically changed the lives of many more. In Afghanistan we still have combat troops there, close to 18 years after the invasion.

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Also seared into our minds, on somewhat of a smaller scale, are the attacks in Libya on Sept. 11-12, 2012. This is commonly known as the Benghazi incident. The attacks, which were first said to be spontaneous and were later proven to be premeditated, resulted in the deaths of U.S. Ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, and U.S. Foreign Service Information Management Officer Sean Smith. Two C.I.A. operatives who were former Navy Seals, Tyrone S. Woods and Glen Doherty, also perished as a result of the attacks.

As stated earlier, many people originally labeled the Benghazi attacks as spontaneous, though that later proved to be false. Most have come to recognize the significance of the Benghazi attacks in relation to September 11th, 2001. Most still wonder why that date was chosen or offer up the significance of 9/11 and the number 911 for emergencies. A look throughout the history of Islam and it’s many, many, battles with what was once known as Christendom and now known as the West, perhaps tells a different story.

The Ottoman Empire in May of 1565 sent an armada of over 200 ships and over 50,000 men, including some of the Sultan’s finest soldiers, to attack the tiny island nation of Malta. The ensuing siege and battles waged on until on Sept. 11th, 1565. The Maltese forces, which at best numbered 9,000, finally succeeded in defeating the Islamic horde and driving them out of Malta.

In 1492, before Christopher Columbus set sail for the New World, the king and queen of Spain successfully subdued the Islamic armies in Spain after a nearly 800-year battle for the control of Spain. The resulting years after the military defeat left the Spanish trying to deal with the defeated Muslim population left behind. Missionaries tried to convert but the deceptive practice of Taquiya allowed Muslims to deny their religious practice in public until they were able to have the numbers to attempt to regain control. Knowing this was the desired end result the Spanish crown prepared an order of expulsion and prepared ships to transport the hundreds of thousands of Moors from Spain. On September 11th, 1609 the town criers read the order in Valencia ad the first ships left Spain on October 2nd.

The Battle of Zenta in 1697. The forces of The Holy League commissioned by Pope Innocent XI meet with the Ottoman Turks in what is now Yugoslavia and won one of the most decisive battles in history, killing over 30,000 Turkish soldiers and the knights of The Holy League suffering only 300 casualties.

The Battle of Vienna in 1683. The Sultan’s forces stood at the gates of Vienna and stood to overtake Western Europe. Not since the Battle of Tours in 732 ( interestingly on Oct. 11) when Charles “the hammer” Martel ( a direct ancestor of mine) checked Muslim aggression in France, had Europe been in a situation to be conquered by the Islamic hordes. The overwhelming numerical superiority of the Sultan’s forces made the situation appear grim for the combined Christian forces.

The grim forecast did not hold true, however, as the combined Christian forces led by King John III Sobieski and his Polish Winged Hussars decisively routed the Islamic forces in the battle that took place on the 11th and 12th of September. This was the defining victory of Christian forces over Islamic forces in the West which halted Islamic aggression. It was a battle that has never been forgotten or forgiven by radicals in Islamic circles either.

These four incidents in history give us some context into the long line of conflict between Islam and Christendom or the West — a conflict that continues to this day and will continue into the foreseeable future, at least.

It gives us context and also urges us to remember the sacrifices and the departed, from Malta in 1565 to this day. From the island siege to the attacks on the Twin Towers and The Pentagon. We remember the dead and their loved ones in our prayers. We uplift our country and its needs to the Almighty, and we never ever forget. We hold fast to these things this Sept. 11 as we once again remember and forever be vigilant.