A Victory Girls 9/11 Collective: Life After 9/11

As I look back at these last 13 years, I can only weep. After more than a decade of war, with the loss of great blood and treasure, and personal liberties eroded, we aren’t safer today than we were before 9/11. Sure, I’m glad we killed Osama bin Laden and waterboarded the hell out of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, but frankly the world is a much more dangerous place now, than it was back then. Why? Because terrorism has metastasized.

For years following September 11th, President Bush assured all of us that Islamic extremists represented but a tiny minority of Muslims, remember? And after waging the Global War on Terror for 8 long years, he still felt compelled to say that. Even back then a lot of us knew that wasn’t true, but for the sake of our country, I really did wanted to believe it…

September 11, 2014. Americans across the board are feeling less safe now than any time since the September 11th terrorist attacks because of the rise of ISIS, and their promise of a global Caliphate through any means necessary. As recent as this past July Barack Obama, who’s always ready to defend its principles, declared that Islam shares “the values of peace” with other religions and cultures. Liberals in America continue to defend the “Religion of Peace” while innocents are slaughtered to the point of a near Christian genocide throughout the Middle East, American journalists and children are beheaded, and women and girls sold as Jihadi brides.

“Religion of Peace”? No. I think not.

Islam, to me, after these last 13 years is a primitive blood thirsty power structure, pretending to be a religion, where the idea of “peace” means everyone else in the world is dead. Harsh? Sorry.

Wait… no, I’m not.

In recent months, many Americans throughout our country now see the radical bloodthirsty fanaticism that lies behind ISIS, Hamas, Hezbollah and a dozen other Islamist groups creating mayhem throughout the Middle East and elsewhere. Such an observation may be politically incorrect for Barack Obama and some liberals in our country, or the “Blame America First” crowd, but now seems an absolute truth.

This is what I know: we’ve always had a strong American foreign policy brand… that is until Barack Obama and his “peace-through-withdrawal” strategy. He’s a weak leader, whose lack of a firm and decisive foreign policy – coupled with 6 years of foreign policy failures – has directly put all of us (liberal and conservative alike) in a place of danger unlike anything we knew prior to 9/11. His sycophants are complicit in this failure to keep our country safe as well. And what I also know is he’s not a closet Muslim as some believe. Barack Obama is a secular humanist. He admires Islam solely for the manner in which “the faithful” subjugate themselves gladly to an all controlling, all powerful government authority.

So… thirteen years after 9/11 it seems we still can’t manage to have an honest conversation about Islam in this country. For me personally, and I speak only for myself, I can no longer separate the brutal Islamic terror organization ISIS from its broader religious affiliation. Like al-Qaeda before them, I see ISIS as blood thirsty nihilists – locusts – who know only how to destroy. It is infinitely evil to me now.

I do still believe we should continue to live our lives the best way we know how. To work, play, laugh, love. We are Americans, damn it, and we shouldn’t waste one moment, nor sacrifice one bit of our beloved freedom, because of terrorism.

Therefore, the answer: Know thy mortal enemy; kill him or be killed.


On this 13th Anniversary of 9/11, each of us here at Victory Girls have recorded below our thoughts and reflections of how our lives have been affected because of that day and what we’ve learned since. Additionally, Kit has our post of the day, and we have a Victory Girls 9/11 Podcast we hope you’ll listen to featuring Cassy, Catherine, and Deanna.

Please remember with us all we lost 13 years ago, and what we as a country, so desperately need to get back.

I could not separate my life today from 9/11. I knew no one that died in the towers; I had no loved ones on any of the four planes. No family members were stationed at the Pentagon. But 9/11 changed my life forever. The most obvious way was, of course, the loss of innocence. As a senior in high school, war was something to read about in history books. The idea of jihad was something I had never even heard of. The horrific thought of someone flying a plane into a building in order to kill thousands of people was so laughable that when we first heard the news, we all thought it was an accident — a pilot somehow, inexplicably had flown into the north tower. Like everyone else, I was changed forever that day. Evil was no longer something just to be read about. Never in my life had I been so horrified at what was unfolding before my very eyes. I watched people leap to their deaths out of burning skyscrapers. I heard phone calls that broke my heart. I read stories of heroism and courage and love that made me weep for the people we, as a nation, had lost. I would never be the same again, ever.

But 9/11 affected my life in a way that I could never have predicted. One of my best friends growing up turned out to be my husband. And that man enlisted in the military after 9/11, into the United States Marine Corps. Because of 9/11, we spent more time apart than together during our first four years of marriage. Because of 9/11, he went on four deployments and had to watch people he know get killed or wounded around him. Because of 9/11, he was in Afghanistan in an MRAP when it rolled over an IED, leaving him with a Grade 2 concussion, a traumatic brain injury that continues to affect him today. Because of 9/11, he was in Afghanistan when one of our children was born, and had to miss what was one of the most important days of our lives. 9/11 affected my life — our life together — in ways I never could have imagined or predicted 13 years ago. But I don’t regret any of it. I don’t complain about the price our family has paid for freedom. I wouldn’t change it, because when we are confronted with evil, then we must rely on men like my husband to be willing to stand up and fight back. My only regret is an administration that took the sacrifice of thousands upon thousands of men and women in uniform — from those who made the ultimate sacrifice, to those like our family — and wasted it. What 9/11 has ultimately taught me is that no matter how horrific and traumatizing an event is, people will ultimately forget. They will cease to care. They won’t remember why we are fighting. They will feel safe, even though there are terrorists everywhere that want to kill us and destroy our country. 9/11 taught me that good men and women will give everything they have to stop evil… and an ungrateful government will squander it.

In the aftermath of 9/11, we were galvanized. We came together as a nation and suddenly it didn’t matter what party we were, or whether we were pro-gay marriage or what the minimum wage was. All that mattered was that we were Americans. Sadly, it took the sight of our own countrymen jumping from a skyscraper in mortal terror for us to get there. It took the sight of Americans covered in ash and blood. Just a little over a decade later, the large majority of the nation is back to doing what they were doing on 9/10; being self-absorbed and looking for the next instant gratification. Even the horror of the attack itself has faded in a sea of diversity and multiculturalism, where we are told that we must embrace the same ideology that drove nineteen men—and the group behind them—to murder thousands of people in a few horrific moments, captured for all time on film.

For some of us, every day is 9/12. For some of us, those images are burned into our heads with the white-hot fire of anger, the kind born from the pain of a loss we cannot even begin to comprehend. It is not about letting go and forgiving. It is not about compassion or diversity. I have no compassion for those who engage in such cowardly and murderous actions. I have no need for diversity and multiculturalism if it means ignoring the obvious threat to our liberty and our way of life. If 9/11 taught me anything, it is not that life is short or that I need to live life to the fullest, or any of the other trite platitudes that we are fed in the wake of loss. 9/11 reminded me that there are things worth fighting for, worth dying for. There are things worth killing for. Ensuring that nothing like that ever happens on our soil again is one of those things.

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Ava Gardner