by Lil Tuttle

The day began like any other. Parents getting children ready for school. People rushing to get ready for work. Travelers hurrying to catch their flights.

A CBLPI staffer caught a flight out of Dulles to Florida that morning. Barbara Olson, a CBLPI friend who planned to speak at our next Conservative Women’s Network, boarded another Dulles flight bound for Los Angeles. One lived. One died.

Our staffer made it somewhere over the Carolinas before her pilot received the order to land his aircraft at the nearest airport. Barbara didn’t make it out of the Washington DC area. At 9:37 a.m. on September 11, 2001, the Al Qaeda terrorists who hijacked Barbara’s aircraft crashed it into the Pentagon, killing all on board. provides the chronology of events that day, beginning with this:

On a clear, sunny late summer day in September 2001, Al Qaeda terrorists aboard three hijacked passenger planes carried out coordinated suicide attacks against the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., killing everyone on board the planes and nearly 3,000 people on the ground. A fourth plane crashed into a Pennsylvania field, killing all on board, after passengers and crew attempted to wrest control from the hijackers.

At 9:42 a.m. the FAA, for the first time in history, grounded all flights over, or bound for, the continental U.S – some 3,300 commercial flights and 1,200 private planes. Soon the only aircraft in American skies were military fighters, and they were missile ready.

As national networks covered the stunning attack that morning, friends called friends with a quick terse message: turn on your television.

Newscasters initially believed the plane crash into the World Trade Center was an accident. This short video clip of the Today show captures the second aircraft hitting the WTC and the shock as realization dawned: this was no accident. This was an evil, coordinated assault by a merciless, blood-thirsty enemy.

Fifteen Years Later

Fifteen years later, we have made some progress in understanding our enemy. We’ve finally put to rest the left’s perpetual question, why do they hate us so? The answer, in one sentence, is that we in the civilized West unrepentantly refuse to convert to radical Muslim jihadists’ barbaric brand of 5th Century theology, governance, and culture. And since we never will, their war against us will not abate.

We also know from experience that our enemy is not driven by ignorance and poverty. Four of the 44 Muslim jihadists’ attacks on U.S. soil since 2001—Ft Hood TX in 2009, Boston MA in 2013, San Bernadino CA in 2015, and Orlando FL in 2016—were executed by well-educated, financially comfortable people.

As Katherine Gorka, president of the Council on Global Security, explains,

Contrary to popular theory, radical jihadists such as the Boston Marathon killers engage in jihad not because they are poor, ignorant people. Rather, virtually all radicalized jihadists believe that they are being good Muslims by following the teachings handed down by Muhammed in the 5th Century. Boston’s Tsarnaev brothers, for example, were highly informed, posting over 2,000 pages of jihadist religious literature on their computer.

What we do not know, fifteen years later, is how to separate our Islamic friends—i.e., those who embrace Western civilization and reject jihad—from our Islamic enemies—those who embrace jihad and reject Western civilization. We will continue to be vulnerable to attack until we can reliably identify those determined to destroy us.

Our current president’s response to this serious threat has ranged from childlike denial to confused indifference. We must do better.

We remember 9-11 and those who lost their lives that day (and since) because the enemy that declared open war on us on September 11, 2001, remains dedicated to our destruction. We must remain equally committed to destroying this radical enemy.