On the 10th anniversary of 9/11, our nation still has not brought five admitted perpetrators to justice, ground zero still remains to be rebuilt, and Shanksville, Pa., is without a finished memorial to the victims of United Airlines Flight 93.
There can be no justice unless and until those responsible for the horrific attacks are held to account for their crimes, and there on can be no peace for the souls who died on 9/11 until the day ground zero is fully and completely restored and Shanksville has a completed memorial to the victims of Flight 93.
How is it possible that our government has not been able to bring admitted killers to justice in 10 years’ time? There is no good answer.
How is it possible that the greatest most advanced nation on the planet has been unable to restore a few blocks in lower Manhattan to its former glory and have not been able to build a fitting memorial in Shanksville in 10 years’ time? There is no good answer.
Our government has let us down. We should have moved swiftly to bring those responsible to justice and we should have moved with due speed as a national priority to rebuild ground zero and erect a fitting memorial to Flight 93 victims.
Although I cannot speak for all victims of 9/11, I can speak for one.
On Sept. 11, 2001, I lost my nephew: New York State Senior Court Officer Thomas Jurgens. Tommy was a first responder to the attacks to the World Trade Center. He commandeered a jury van and loaded it up with supplies and personnel and went from the safety of his courthouse to the World Trade Center.
When his supervisors told him to leave the trade center and his radio response was: “I cannot leave, there are people who need our help.”That was his last radio transmission. He was never seen again. He was killed, as were his colleagues, Court Officer Captain Harry Thompson and Senior Court Officer Mitch Wallace.
Tommy’s remains were never found. The only items that were recovered from the ashes of ground zero were his melted gun and mangled badge. He was just 26 years old and had been married for only three years.
We as Americans can do anything we put our collective minds and hands to. After all, America has always been the beacon of freedom, hope and justice for the world.
It has been said, “Justice delayed is justice denied.” The fact that America has yet to mete out justice swiftly, fairly, and surely to those responsible for the horror of 9/11 has been hurtful to our nation. It calls into question our ability to practice what we preach and to stand true to our Constitution and the rule of law.
The fact that we as a nation did not demand that ground zero be rebuilt in record time and that a fitting memorial be erected in Shanksville is a national disgrace.
As an attorney, I am ashamed; as an American, I am embarrassed; and as a relative of a victim, I am outraged by our government’s failures to bring 9/11 perpetrators to justice and to rebuild and memorialize the sites of the attacks to date.
The enemy who attacked us on 9/11/01 and those who continue to plot against us did so and do so because they hate America and all we stand for. They hate our freedom, tolerance, multi-culture, multi-religion, rule of law and power.
As we remember the events of 9/11 on this, the 10th anniversary, we need first and foremost to remember and honor the heroes and the victims. But we also must use this important anniversary to rededicate ourselves to renewing and rededicating ourselves to living up to by word and deed that which makes America a great nation.
It is my hope that justice will be delivered and peace will be found sooner rather than later for the sake of all victims and people who were affected by the attacks of 9/11/01.
Bradley A. Blakeman served as deputy assistant to President George W. Bush from 2001-04. He now is a politics and public policy professor at Georgetown University and a frequent contributor to the Fox Forum.
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