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Protecting Freedom

The death toll from this week's terrorist attacks in New York, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C., is going to be staggering, once the figures become clear.

Already the number of men, women and children killed is soaring into the thousands and will be painfully added to as searchers continue to sift through the compressed remains of the twin buildings that once stood well above the New York City skyline as well as the damaged portion of the Pentagon.

The numbers are made all the more stunning because we're talking about people of different ages, lifestyles, beliefs, ethnicities...

And undoubtedly for almost all of those victims, especially the citizens of this country, they died with an overwhelming belief in the principles that the United States, embodied in such documents as the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights.

Americans who "survived" this act of evil should make sure that the freedoms they believe in, and which we enjoy on these shores and across this great nation, do not become the next casualty.

Specifically, we should not be targeting those citizens and non-citizens in this country who are practicing Muslims or who dress according to their nation of origin or speak with accented English or who look "Middle Eastern or Arabic" simply because at this time culprits who perpetrated this horror are thought to have come from the Middle East.

Our response to this despicable and cowardly act can't be to lash out at other innocents because of their nationality or religious beliefs. If religion was used as justification for killing thousands then those beliefs have been twisted and corrupted to fit vicious and evil thinking. The Koran, like the Bible, does not sanctify the taking of lives in such a cause.

What makes the United States so different from the other countries of the world is that people here can worship as they please, dress as they please, express their differences and even speak out against government policy.

Those are freedoms we all cherish- but they are freedoms that others find threatening.

Wanting to act, wanting to seek revenge or retribution are understandable after such unbelievable and terrible events.

But we must not lower ourselves to the level of those who committed and backed these acts.

We must show that the ideals and freedoms we take for granted will rise above and prevail over the cowards who attacked this nation.

The issue: Reacting to this week's events by targeting practicing Muslims or those who appear to come from the Middle East.

Our opinion: Our response should not be to lash out at other innocents. What makes us different from other countries in the world is our ability to worship, dress and express ourselves. The freedoms and ideals we take for granted must prevail.

(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
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This editorial, published in the Greenfield Recorder in September of 2001, argues that the best national reaction to threat is to recommit to Constitutional principles and liberties. To many the terrorist bombings of the World Trade Center and the Pentagon in 2001 called for a strong governmental response. As had occurred after the Japanese attack on the Pearl Harbor naval base in 1941, the public seemed ready to accept the suspension of Constitutionally guaranteed rights and liberties to facilitate the government's response to the threat. Ever since the Constitution was ratified, different times and events in U.S. history have raised the issue of maintaining a balance between national security and individual freedoms. Massachusetts ratified the United States constitution by a narrow margin in February of 1788. It was among several states that provided their support in exchange for assurances that the Constitution would be amended to provide direct protection for individual freedoms. The resulting guarantees of the Bill of Rights included freedom of speech and freedom of religion. The author of this editorial specifically warns against stigmatizing Muslims and others of Middle Eastern descent.

 

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"Protecting Freedom" article from The Recorder newspaper

publisher   The Recorder [Press]
date   Sep 15, 2001
location   Greenfield, Massachusetts
width   5.0"
height   9.0"
process/materials   printed paper, ink
item type   Periodicals/Newspaper
accession #   #L06.035


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See Also...

"Showdown Looms On War Powers Issue" article in The Greenfield Recorder newspaper

"Senate Bill Would Limit U.S. Combat" article in The Greenfield Recorder newspaper

"Congress passes $40 billion to fight terrorism" article from The Recorder newspaper


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