TORCH OPINON: Let’s not only remember, but finish the fight
September 11, 2016
Southern Torch (3842 articles)

TORCH OPINON: Let’s not only remember, but finish the fight

By Tyler Pruett, Managing Editor

Since the events September 11, 2001, it’s become a part of life to pay remembrance of the lives lost on that day.

Most of us remember exactly where we were and what we were doing when the hijacked airliners struck the World Trade Center and Pentagon. I was a 15-year-old sophomore at Cedar Bluff School, and like most was glued to the television for the entire day.

It’s surreal to think that a 15-year-old in the present year was either an infant or not in existence yet. The attacks seem like yesterday to myself and many of us.

While I always had shown interest in joining the military, that day made my mind up. I still had to wait two years to meet the age requirement, but I signed the paperwork within a few days of being old enough. Even after signing, I had to wait another year to finish high school.

What’s even more surreal is to think that 15 years later, young Americans in High School who are considering the military as an option, still have to consider the events of September 11 and the possibility they may be killed in the middle east.

Military service is important and I’m very proud of my own. In my personal opinion, ISIS would be a footnote in a history book by now if American troops were deployed to aggressively hunt down and destroy all elements of the group within Iraq and Syria.

My point is, why in 15 years have we not won? While the hijackers were Al Qaeda operatives, the same scum has now formed into an even more barbaric group, with it’s own territory and conventional(and unconventional) army.

Sgt. Chad Clements, Spc. Scott Long, and myself on one of about 30 CH-47 Chinook rides. Afghanistan, 2005.

Sgt. Chad Clements, Spc. Scott Long, and myself on one of about 30 CH-47 Chinook rides. Afghanistan, 2005.

In summer and fall of 2006, a full five years after September 11, 2001, I served as a paratrooper with the 1st Battalion, 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division in Iraq. At this time, the American military was suffering some of it’s highest rate of monthly casualties during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Who were we fighting? While there were some Iraqi civilians taking part in the insurgency, I was surprised by how many were from all over the middle east; crossing borders to fight the ‘Infidels’ for the likes of Al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) and the Sunni Mahdi Army.

A full nine years since my unit served in Iraq, the same people are still crossing borders to fight in not only Iraq, but Syria. They aren’t splintered into a multitude of terror groups that have to stay in the shadows to hide from pissed off Americans.

They also have their own borders. While they carried out brutal attacks on Iraqi civilians in 2006, they at least ran the risk of being killed or captured by Americans, who can be much more brutal than the worst terrorist after seeing what these groups do to innocent civilians or their friends killed.

Drew, Richard (Photographer) Associated Press. (2001. September 12) 'The Falling Man' [digital image] Retrieved from

Drew, Richard (Photographer) Associated Press. (2001. September 12) ‘The Falling Man’ [digital image] Retrieved from /en/0/05/The_Falling_Man.jpg

While September 11 was by far the deadliest terror attack, the two deadliest attacks since that day have occurred in the last six months. And while ISIS (which is worse than Al Qaeda) is being bombed mercilessly, they still exist to threaten us, Europe, and the civilians that live within their borders.

Make no mistake, the evil that carried out the attacks in which we so vividly remember still exist, and not only still exists, it’s grown and evolved.

My question isn’t, ‘Why are we still fighting the same war?’

I understand better than anyone why it’s our duty to destroy this evil.

My question is, ‘Why haven’t we won?’

I know a big reason that myself and others who decided to serve their country during that time was so that future generations wouldn’t have to deal with the same evil.

15 years later, young people of that age still face the same decisions for the same reason.

While we should never forget September 11, 2001, we should also never forget the fight. Not only should we not forget it, but we’ve got to support whatever it takes to win it.

In another 15 years, will we still be fighting the same war?

Southern Torch

Southern Torch


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