Aftermath of attack, Part I

This Monday marks the 16th anniversary of the terrorist attack of Sept. 11, 2001.

Nineteen al-Qaida infiltrators hijacked four commercial airliners, slamming two into the towers of the World Trade Center in New York and another into the Pentagon. The fourth plane crashed in Shanksville, Penn., when passengers overpowered the men who commandeered their flight.

Today and Sunday, we will reflect on the aftermath of the worst attack on American soil since Pearl Harbor. On Tuesday, we will rerun the editorial that appeared in The Maui News on Sept. 12, 2001 — the day after the attack.

While 2,996 people died and over 6,000 were injured on 9/11, thousands more of our fellow citizens have fought (and continue to fight) in a series of wars in the Middle East in the years since.

Those battles have doubtless played a role in the spread of terrorism to Northern Africa as well as regime changes there that have left the area destabilized.

Syria has declared war on its own people, creating a refugee crisis of enormous dimensions. Al-Qaida has seemingly morphed into the Islamic State and its quest for a permanent and expanding caliphate promises to keep the region in turmoil for decades to come. ISIS uses brutal videos of beheadings and mass executions for recruitment purposes.

Abroad, ISIS backs and stages terrorist attacks and urges “lone wolves” to slaughter the innocent.

Here in the United States, this last bitter decade-and-a-half has paralyzed and polarized our political process. Our major parties nominated the two least popular candidates for president since polling organizations began tracking such data. “Unfavorability ratings” and “dishonesty factors” were the meat of the last election season.

But the country doesn’t need to be made “great again” — it simply needs leadership that reminds us that America has been great since its inception. The country needs leaders that will restore the confidence and optimism of its citizenry.

Sunday: Aftermath of an attack, Part II.

* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.