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America rediscovers its patriotism, pride

Posted: Monday, October 01, 2001

America has rediscovered its old values.

Prayer and patriotism suddenly have been found again as essential ingredients to freedom and liberty.

That it took something as tragic as ... terrorist attacks to rediscover these virtues is a tragedy unto itself.

For the first two centuries of our country's growth there was no question that prayer was a part of our culture and our strength. There was no doubt that patriotism -- reflected even in something as simple as the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance in our grade schools -- was part of our life, our education, our sense of what we are.

In recent years, however, those values have been under attack -- in the courts, in the press, in the ivied halls of academia.

Prayer became unconstitutional. God had no place in government or public life. Lawyers sued to force any mention of God from our schools, our auditoriums, even from our high school football stadiums. Civil disobedience replaced patriotic service as the by-word of those who reveled in the spoiled, narcissistic counterculture that seemed to prevail. Hollywood laughed at honor, made fun of pride of country.

American heroes, from the days of Thomas Jefferson to the days of Douglas MacArthur, were tarred and tarnished by those who would rewrite history to conform to the politics of the Left, the ultra liberal, and the social engineers seeking to erode the foundations on which this country was built, its Constitution written, its Bill of Rights proclaimed.

On one horrible Tuesday morning, the World Trade Center holocaust changed that. The airliner that was flown into the Pentagon changed that. The heroic passengers aboard that United flight that crashed into a field near Pittsburgh gave their lives to change that.

The nation mourned. The nation wept. And at prayer services everywhere across the land, people gathered to bow their heads and to ask for God's blessing on this land of ours.

They stood and held hands with each other and they unashamedly sang, ''God Bless America'' -- on the steps of the Capitol in Washington, on the streets of Manhattan, at the ticket counter of Alaska Airlines in Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport.

They raised the flag, flying the Stars and Stripes on their homes and in their office windows. They put flags on their cars and their trucks. An Anchorage School District delivery truck driver proudly had a small American flag flying from his cap.

They showed their pride in this country. They showed a commitment to defend freedom. They showed support of the nation's absolute resolve to eradicate terrorism and exact a swift and final justice. And they prayed that God would bless this noble cause.

America, it seems, has found the long-forgotten path home.

-- The Voice of the (Anchorage) Times

Sept. 20

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Sept. 20, 2001

Alaska Newspapers Inc. put the Sept. 11 attacks and subsistence in perspective

The attack on the World Trade Center a week ago was thousands of miles and several time zones away from Alaska, but it couldn't have hit closer to home.

The tragedy brought to a halt the rhythm of everyday life even in the state's most isolated reaches, as families struggled to cope with the horror and the military scrambled to keep all planes grounded.

Alaskans like to brag that we are a different country altogether, set apart from the United States by integrity, will and common sense.

That pretension was nowhere to be found Sept. 11, when terrorists slammed commuter jets into the Pennsylvania countryside, the Pentagon and the World Trade Center.

When the center's two towers collapsed, we collapsed. As the toll of dead and missing climbed to an estimated 5,000, stunned Alaskans donated blood, prayed for victims, flew national colors and weighed the future.

Those were our families that perished, our brothers and sisters. They were black, white, Native American, Christians, Jews and Muslims. Most importantly, they were Americans.

The attack, by an unknown enemy, has drawn comparisons to Pearl Harbor. Like that event and others surrounding World War II, the struggle to come will teach us much about ourselves.

Though it wasn't until 1964 that Congress passed the Civil Rights Act prohibiting racial and religious discrimination, World War II made America realize that the same xenophobia that perverted Hitler was rampant in our own backyard.

Even today, Alaska struggles with civil rights. Ironically, the terrorist attacks were carried out just a few hours before an 11-member panel appointed by Gov. Tony Knowles planned to tackle the state's most divisive racial issue: subsistence.

In part to secure subsistence rights for Natives, the Alaska Federation of Natives recently took its agenda to the United Nations. The Alaska Constitutional Legal Defense Conservation Fund, meanwhile, has filed a lawsuit to prevent a rural subsistence preference and to force Knowles to appeal the Katie John lawsuit.

The subsistence battle, as it has been known, hardly seemed worth mentioning last week. As the shock of the tragedy subsides and the subsistence issue returns to the front pages, let's remember that underneath the caustic rhetoric and the finger-pointing, we are all Americans, and we are all just human beings.

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