Flag at half-mast, Kalispell, Montana, September 11, 2012, at dusk.
Today is a sad day when we reflect on the great loss of life on September 11, 2001. One of our members, who goes by the handle “SIGO” on our members-only Oath Keepers National Forum, posted this question on the forum:
Where were you [on 9-11] and when did you realize that the plane crash was no accident?
And then “SIGO” said:
“I was in the CAV on Ft Hood. I was on my way home from doing PT, when I heard the report of the first plane. I thought, “Lord, help their families.” I got home and tunred on CNN to catch the latest.
The anchor didn’t catch it, but they caught the second plane live. I watched it hit the building, and told no one… “We’re going to war.” Then I thought, “Lord, help our families.”
I thought it would be fitting to post that same question to you, and to invite you to post your answer in the comments on this article, at our main site. Please add your story from that day about where you were, and when you realized it was not an accident. I think this is a very fitting and proper way for us to remember the fallen, and to show our respects.
As for me [Stewart], I was sitting in my morning torts class at Yale Law School, listening to Guido Calabresi (my favorite professor) present his usual crazy and entertaining hypotheticals of torts (civil liability) when a student stuck his head in the door to tell Professor Calabresi that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center. We thought it was an accident. In my mind, I pictured some small private plane. Then another student popped his head in when the second plane hit, and we knew it was not an accident. We all ran down to the auditorium, where they had news feeds running on the big screen. And we all watched the towers come crashing down. It was horrendous. Since we were so close to NY, and since so many of the students came from New York, there were students there with family and friends who worked in the Trade Center, and several of them were collapsing against the wall, sobbing. The reaction was a terrible mix of crushing grief, anger, and fear.
The only light on that day was the obvious heroism of the police officers, first responders, and average citizens who risked and gave their lives to save others. And in particular, let us remember the brave fire-fighters of the FDNY. While everyone else was running OUT of those burning buildings, those fire-fighters were running IN, and UP those stairs. An amazing example of bravery.
To anyone who ever says that Americans are soft, weak, cowardly, or don’t care about each other, I point first to those fire-fighters as shining examples of how that is a lie. This nation can still produce heroes. The word “hero” gets thrown around a lot. Sometimes too much. But it applies to those men in spades. So, hat’s off to those heroes, and their example.
And by the way, that is why I insisted on including first responders when I founded Oath Keepers. In addition to watching what was done on 9-11 by the first responders, I had the honor and privilege of briefly serving on a volunteer fire department in Montana, and I can truly attest that fire-fighters everywhere are some “hairy chested SOB’s” and I mean that as the highest compliment. They have amply earned the right to stand shoulder to shoulder with those who have served in the military and police. They too put their lives at risk, and they too have pledged to risk or even give their lives in defense of others. They too are warriors, though they fight a different foe – most often fighting the demonic flames. Their example of courage – literally under fire – their willingness to go into burning buildings, sets the bar appropriately high for the rest of us when facing whatever foe it is our destiny to stand against. May we be as brave and resolute when it is our turn to step in between the foe and those it would destroy, whether that foe be foreign or domestic, and whatever form it may take.
But other than such acts of heroism on 9-11, it was a horrible day.
And the aftermath was also horrible, with a great loss of our liberty in the name of fighting the war on terrorism. And that loss goes on, today. It is as if a fatal blow was struck against our Constitution and against this Republic om 9-11-2001, and the bleeding has not stopped since, with the Republic bleeding out, minute by minute, year by year.
In the wake of 9-11, we are now engaged in constitutional triage, tying to stop the life-threatening bleeding before our Republic dies.
I will be going on Coast to Coast AM tonight to discuss that loss of liberty post 9-11.
STEWART RHODES ON COAST TO COAST AM, TONIGHT, 9-11, at 10PM Pacific Time.
Go here for details on how to listen:
If we truly intend to honor all those who died that day, and all those who have died since, then we Americans need to remember our legacy of liberty – that what defines us as Americans is a willingness to give our lives for freedom, above all else. If we sacrifice our liberty on the alter of security we dishonor all those who have fought and died in defense of liberty from the Founding of this nation to today.
That line of sacred obligation to protect liberty runs from Lexington Green, to Concord Bridge, to Bunker Hill, through the battles of Trenton, Cow Pens, Kings Mountain, to Yorktown, and then on throughout our history. Our liberty was won by cold steel, hot lead, and the hot blood of patriots. Did they die for security? No. They preferred hardship, uncertainty, and danger in liberty to the “comforting” and strangling arms of the British Empire.
They fought and died for liberty alone. And it is our sacred duty to make sure their sacrifices were not in vain. And that duty predates our Constitution and thus predates our oath. There was no constitution to defend on April 19, 1775. The farmers of Lexington and Concord rose up and fought for liberty itself. Men like 80 year old veteran Samuel Whittemore (truly a “dangerous old man”) rose up, on their own, and took the fight directly to their oppressors – the soldiers of their own government. And that same Founding Generation which fought and bled in a desperate revolution against tyranny then gave us a Constitution, with a Bill of Rights, which was their best answer to how to secure the blessings of liberty to us, their posterity.
The torch of American liberty has been passed into our hands, and it is now our watch, and we have an obligation to defend that sacred fire of liberty against all comers, from any party, and especially from men “of great zeal, but little understanding” who, out of fear and ignorance, are willing to make that false choice between liberty and security, and are tempting us to do the same.
And there are worse among us. There are also those who very knowingly and deliberately have taken advantage of the grief, fear, and anger of the American people in the aftermath of that fateful day, to trick Americans into give up their liberty for supposed security. These are truly the enemy within the gates, traitors, who have used the tragedy of 9-11 to justify destroying the liberty that our Forefathers fought and bled to win for us.
As John Adams said:
“Posterity! you will never know how much it cost the present generation to preserve your freedom! I hope you will make a good use of it. If you do not, I shall repent in Heaven that I ever took half the pains to preserve it.”
Let us not deserve that rebuke. Those of us who have sworn an oath to defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic, must stand in opposition to those willful destroyers of our children’s birthright, whatever their artful justifications, and whatever political party they call home, be they “Republicans” or “Democrats.” Liberty comes first. The Constitution comes first. And we are Americans first, not Republicans or Democrats. Americans. You may recall feeling that way on 9-11-2001 – when we set aside partisanship and were simply Americans, united in our grief and anger. Let’s be that way now, acting as Americans first. And let us honor our fallen by defending what matters most. Liberty. If we do not, we will deserve to be cursed by the ghosts of all who came before, by our children, and by our childrens’ children. And may posterity forget the we were their countrymen.
Honor the fallen of 9-11 by preserving liberty for posterity.
Founder and President of Oath Keepers
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