Today I will have the privilege of emceeing our local commemoration of the tenth anniversary of 9/11, designated as Patriot Day.  The event will take place at the state capital and will be broadcast live on AM 1280 The Patriot, and hosted by my NARN radio partner Mitch Berg, and Pastor Brad Brandon from our sister station KKMS will read the official Patriots Day proclamation.  We have a full slate of guests, including the Congressman from my district, Rep. John Kline, as well as US Senator Amy Klobuchar.  The program will be streamed live on our station starting at 7:30 CT, so be sure to tune in.

Other than a short slot for opening remarks, my role will mostly be to introduce all of the other speakers.  Here are my opening remarks as prepared for delivery:

Ten years ago today, terrorists attacked America in New York City and Washington DC, murdering almost 3,000 people in the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, where a flight of courageous men and women foiled al-Qaeda’s final attack by giving their lives to protect us.  Our nation found itself at war with a global network of terrorists and those who aided them in their mission to impose fear and totalitarianism around the world.

We have come together on the anniversaries of this attack to remember those who died on that day, and the many others who have dedicated themselves to ensuring that America never suffers another blow like 9/11.  Some of those have given their lives in Afghanistan and Iraq; others are with us today as honored guests.

After 10 years, we can look back and look forward to see how America has and will continue to respond.  Terrorists tried to destroy us, to make us cower in shadows, divide us, and force us to retreat from our position of global leadership and our example of freedom and liberty.

In this, they have utterly failed.  Look at us today.  We are gathered together as people of all faiths, philosophies, and political persuasions.  Our commitment to self-government and liberty remains stronger than ever.  In the past ten years, we have debated issues great and small, held elections that allow us to choose our own leadership, conducted orderly and lawful transitions of power.

The people who attacked us ten years ago thought that because Americans debate and argue in politics that we are weak and easily defeated.  They made the same mistake that our other enemies have made over the centuries in believing that free speech, freedom of religion, and our defense of individual rights make us weak.  Those are not our weaknesses – those are our strengths. 

In the past ten years, we have become painfully aware that we must remain vigilant, and that there are those who see our leadership in freedom and liberty as a mortal threat to their dreams of global totalitarianism.  But while America is not oblivious to those threats, we refuse to be paralyzed by them.  We refuse to hide in the darkness, to withdraw from the world, and to stop seeking freedom and liberty for all men and women.

Ten years ago today, forty men and women on an airplane showed what Americans will do to protect our Republic and the principles of self-government and freedom.  Let us resolve on every anniversary of this date to recommit ourselves to that defense, and to keep our nation worthy of their sacrifice.  Thank you.

Update: You know, I was on stage with a number of men and women who actually fought the enemy in Iraq and Afghanistan, and none of those speakers at the event mentioned “radical Islam” either.  I feel I’m in good company in remaining focused on America and the strength of liberty and freedom rather than bothering to discuss the specific motivations of the nutjobs that carried out the attack.  There are better forums for that than a commemoration service.