We will never forget the grief of 9-11
It has been four years since terrorists attacked the United States, but the events are ingrained in our memory and the grief we feel is still fresh in our hearts. America lost more than 3,000 of its citizens that fateful day. We also lost our innate sense of invincibility. The synchronized hijacking of airplanes revealed in horrific detail that acts of terrorism can take place anytime, anywhere.
Terrorism was not created on September 11th; it has been with us for centuries. Brutal attacks against civilians by fanatics in Europe, Asia, and elsewhere went unnoticed by most Americans, until September 11th. Since that time, we all recognize that terrorist attacks are no longer isolated events committed by a few independent extremists. The terrorists of the twenty-first century are organized, well-financed, capable, and extremely dedicated to the principle of violence against innocent people.
As we remember September 11th, the United States remains steadfastly determined to face and defeat the terrorist threat. We are working with our allies to prevail over terrorists, their organizations and the states that support them. Since September 11th, these worldwide efforts have led to the capture or death of sixty-five percent of senior al Qaeda leadership. With its primary leadership fragmented, its ability to plan and successfully carry out attacks has been compromised. While attacks have continued around the world, they have tended to be on a much smaller scale, and there has not been an attack on U.S. soil since September 11th.
I believe that our work in Iraq has been critical to our success in fighting the Global War on Terror. We are making progress in Iraq as a constitution is written and a democratic government is established. No longer a sanctuary to the al Qaeda organization, Afghanistan is an emerging democracy as well. These two nations have helped lead the way in the stabilization of rogue nations.
As we continue the fight to rid the world of terrorists, we should remain focused on our fundamental goal - preserving the freedom and security of the United States. This is an enormous challenge that will take determination, global cooperation, and resolve to succeed. I am confident the United States will triumph over global chaos and tyranny, as it always has.
As America pauses to remember those who died on September 11, 2001 and the servicemembers who have died defending our nation's freedom, let us recognize that the challenges we face are great, but our determination to overcome them is greater still.
Richard Shelby is Alabama's senior U.S. Senator.