Standing On Another’s Shoulders


© Copyright 2011 Susan Stamper Brown

“If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants.” Isaac Newton

It seems like only yesterday when crowds filled streets across America waiving hand-scripted signs vowing they would “Never Forget” the atrocities wielded against America by al-Qaida and Osama bin Laden on September 11, 2001.

With American flags flying everywhere, it seemed the patriotism of yesteryear had been revived from an extraordinarily long sleep and the deep partisan divide resulting from the 2000 presidential election was temporarily patched by a bond of brotherhood.

Many forget the gruesome scenes witnessed that day – when some Americans made an unimagined choice as to how they would die that morning. Some chose skull-splitting skyscraper-to-sidewalk jumps, while others chose to stay in the towers only to be charred alive in a steel-melting inferno. Some chose to sit and silently pray while others chose to say “Let’s roll” and fight the Islamic extremists on a plane destined to crash and burn.

While the stench and smoke rose from the human infirmaries, the skies were painted a charcoal gray as a black cloud of grief settled within most American’s hearts.

Our enemy celebrated.

As we bandaged our wounds, time seemed to stand still in many ways. The sun continued to rise and fall, the seasons changed, and we were forced to move forward – although it seemed inappropriate. It takes God-given grace to make it to the other side of grief, and those who survive it are permanently changed.  An acquaintance of mine once said, “Broken hearts never heal, they just stop bleeding.”

Almost ten years has passed since that tragic day and most Americans have fallen into a routine of normalcy, having become accustomed to new things like bellicose airport security checks, the Patriot Act and a Homeland Security Department.

Once again, history has done what she seems to do best by repeating herself, but this time with a twist of poetic justice – as Americans line the streets to celebrate justice rightly served to bin Laden at the hands of our brave military and the intelligence community who have given themselves sacrificially day-in and day-out since September 11, 2001.

Bin Laden’s death does not represent the end of a war, but rather it is the end of a chapter of a book with pages yet to be written. Information continues to unfold that ostensibly connects the dots backward to the enhanced interrogation – of September 11, 2001 mastermind and Guantanamo Bay detainee, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed – performed in CIA prisons under George W. Bush’s watch – that directly led special operations forces to the Pakistan compound.

With the Guantanamo Bay detention facility still in operation, it is obvious the Obama administration has matured in its ideological views, and one can only hope the Obama doctrine will continue to evolve to also include the adoption of carefully executed and monitored enhanced interrogation procedures.

Although the Obama administration deserves credit for having the guts to execute the dicey decision to take out bin Laden, it cannot solely claim victory without also legitimizing the validity of actions taken by his predecessor.

The last chapter on the war on terror will be written when the enemies of America also join bin Laden’s fate and, as Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote, the “world will soon forget you…when you are thus numbered with those who have no part in all that is done under the sun, when in the places where your foot was familiar it is no more known and all trace of you is obliterated as tho’ it had never been, shall you also forget as you are forgotten.”

© Copyright 2011 Susan Stamper Brown. Susan’s weekly column is nationally syndicated exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.

6 Responses to Standing On Another’s Shoulders

  • Typical, In your determination not to give President Obama deserved respect, you conviently forgot to mention that Bush was standing on President Clinton’s Shoulders as well……..again, typical.

    • Point well taken – with the exception that I did consider Clinton’s contribution, but out of respect did not mention that Clinton missed the perfect chance to get OBL . Having also lost a loved one due to the 9/11 collateral damage, I’ve often wondered if he’d still be alive and if 9/11 would have occurred-had Clinton not been preoccupied with certain “unmentionable” activities.

  • Is anyone else exasperated by conservatives giving Reagan all the credit for the fall of communism and now Bush II the credit for bin Laden? Can you people ever give credit to anyone who does not espouse you world view?

    • While I appreciate your concern, like me, most Conservatives applaud Obama for doing the right thing. We cannot overlook the bigger picture-that GITMO and enhanced interrogation would be shut down if Obama had his way. It’s sort of like me getting credit for shooting a wounded two-legged ten-point buck. His head looks good on my mantle, but that’s about it.

  • Cut to the truth. Obama murdered OBL because his poll numbers were down. They knew where he was for a long time. And what happened to all the liberal blather about DUE PROCESS? If Bush had been president during this event, the liberals would be calling for a war-crimes trial. But I guess its OK to dump your best friend (Rev. Wright) or murder someone in their pajamas if your poll numbers are down. Get real. If Obama did not want to destroy America and its values, then why is he exponentiating the debt. Obama and his ilk are a one way ticket to third world status, and we are half way there right now. Give him four more years, and we will all be living in grass huts with dirt floors.

    • I agree that Obama must be voted out of office in 2012. Unchecked, his policies, both foreign and domestic, will destroy our nation. He’s temporarily moved closer to the center – but that is only to win re-election. I hope Americans can see through this and will realize that he’ll move as far left as he can legally go if we wins in 2012.