Posts Tagged ‘Afghanistan’
Like all – if not most – of you, I spent a considerable amount of time this weekend reflecting back on the dark, tragic day in our nation’s history that took place ten years ago today. I attended a memorial service at Wisconsin’s State Capitol early this morning to honor and remember the victims of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks (seven of whom were Wisconsin natives) as well as the more than 6,000 American soldiers (including more than 150 from Wisconsin) who made the ultimate sacrifice in defending our nation against further acts of terrorism.
During the beautiful and moving ceremony, I sat near one of the Gold Star Families who were also in attendance – families who lost loved ones who had served in Iraq or Afghanistan since September 11, 2001. I was in absolute awe of their composure throughout the service while my emotions got the best of me during the playing of Amazing Grace and Taps. And while delivering his remarks, Governor Scott Walker shared a story from one of the Gold Star Families he had met with earlier this year. He met with the mother and father of a soldier who had been killed in combat, someone who was only twelve-years-old on September 11, 2001. Yet, according to his parents, that day had a significant impact on him as he decided right then and there that he would serve his country one day and defend it against terrorism…
While today was certainly a day for paying tribute to all of the innocent Americans we lost in New York, Washington, and Shanksville ten years ago, I also could not help but think back on all that we have accomplished since that horrific day.
Shortly after September 11, 2001 President George W. Bush visited Ground Zero in New York City where he declared, “The people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon!”
Since then, our selfless and courageous men and women in the armed forces have achieved a number of significant victories in the global War on Terror – sending a very strong message to al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations everywhere that they picked the wrong country to attack. Working with our nation’s intelligence community, their tireless efforts have ensured that the more than 3,000 Americans who perished ten years ago and the 6,000 heroic soldiers we have lost since did not all die in vain.
The Heritage Foundation reports that 40 terrorist plots have been foiled since September 11, 2001. PBS also has a timeline of diplomatic and military events from September 11, 2001 through 2004. Believe it or not, however, it took a thorough online search to locate the victories our nation has achieved in the War on Terror over the last ten years that I’ve highlighted below (only a few of many more):
September 11, 2001: The plan put into place by the hijackers aboard United Airlines Flight 93 was foiled by the courageous passengers and crew of that flight, whose efforts saved countless other innocent American lives.
October 7, 2001: Operation Enduring Freedom commences as American and British forces launch airstrikes against Taliban locations in Afghanistan.
November 17, 2001: Muhammad Atef, a senior deputy to Osama bin Laden is killed by U.S. airstrikes near Kabul, Afghanistan.
December 17, 2001: Taliban forces are defeated in the battle of Tora Bora.
December 22, 2001: Richard Reid is apprehended before he could carry out his plan of blowing up an airliner using explosives hidden in his shoe.
March 1, 2003: Top Al Qaeda leader and key 9/11 strategist Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, along with two other terrorists, is apprehended in Islamabad, Pakistan during a CIA-led operation.
March 19, 2003: Operation Iraqi Freedom commences as U.S. forces launch airstrikes against Saddam Hussein’s strongholds.
April 19, 2003: The ruthless regime of Saddam Hussein falls to U.S. forces, symbolized by the toppling of a giant statue of the Iraqi dictator in the center of Baghdad.
July 22, 2003: Saddam Hussein’s sons, Odai and Qusai, are killed after a six-hour-long raid by U.S. forces.
December 13, 2003: Saddam Hussein is captured near Tikrit, Iraq by the U.S. Army’s 4th Infantry Division. I actually had the honor of meeting one of the soldiers of that unit at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Just a few weeks after capturing Saddam Hussein, he was wounded by an Improvised Explosive Devise (IED or roadside bomb). Thankfully, he survived and ended up sharing a room with my brother at one of Walter Reed’s outpatient facilities.
June 7, 2006: Top Al Qaeda leader and terror mastermind Abu Musab al-Zarqawi is killed by U.S. airstrikes north of Baghdad.
December 30, 2006: Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein is executed.
April 23, 2009: Al Qaeda leader Abu Omar al-Baghdadi is captured by American-trained Iraqi forces.
December 25, 2009: “Christmas Day Bomber” Umar Farouk AbdulMutallab is overtaken by passengers, who successfully foiled his plot to bomb an airliner as it was flying over U.S. soil.
April 19, 2010: Top Al Qaeda leaders Abu Ayyub al-Masri and Abu Umar al-Baghdadi are killed in a raid led by American and Iraqi forces.
May 1, 2011: The official announcement is made that top global terrorist and 9/11 mastermind Osama bin Laden was killed in a raid led by U.S. Navy Seal Team Six. The Huffington Post provides a timeline of the attacks bin Laden had been behind throughout his reign of terror leading up to September 11, 2001.
Again, these are only a few of the many noteworthy accomplishments achieved by the U.S. military and our allies since the War on Terror began ten years ago. At the top of the list, however, is the fact that there has not been another attack on our soil since September 11, 2001… all the more reason to be grateful for their service.