For the last ten years, country radio stations have been playing the heck out of Darryl Worley's song Have You Forgotten? As a matter of fact, at our most recent WBKR Night at the Grand Old Opry, Darryl sang that song to a raucous standing ovation.  The reason that particular song still resonates so profoundly is that no one in the U.S. has forgotten the morning of September 11th, 2001, when, according to Toby Keith's Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue, "a mighty sucker punch came flying in from somewhere in the back!"   It was that day that "The Statue of Liberty started shaking her fist" and now, ten years later, "Mother Freedom" is "ringing her bell."  A major chapter in the War Against Terror is closed.  Osama Bin Laden is dead.

Our war against Bin Laden and his brand of terror is decades old.  Since September 11th, 2001 he has been Public Enemy #1.  But, his reign of terror goes back even further here in the United States.  Remember, it was Bin Laden who was linked to the attack on the World Trade Center in 1993.  It was Bin Laden, who in 1999, faced 224 counts of murder in connection with embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania.  In 1999, he topped the F.B.I.'s Most Wanted list.  Make no mistake.  This is the man who brought terror to the world and, unthinkably, stateside.   This is the man who taught our enemies how to infiltrate the U.S. and cripple her at home.  That was NEVER supposed to be possible and his actions shook this nation to its core. 

But remember, the American spirit cannot be denied.  This is the land of the free, the home of the brave.  And, as "soon as we could see clearly through our big black eye", the United States vowed revenge.  And, after an elaborate military measure against a mansion in Pakistan, we got it.  Not only did the U.S. military take out Osama Bin Laden, it took out members of his family as well.  In doing so, we sent a powerful message to the world that we will not tolerate terror. 

Sunday night's developments will be celebrated for years.  After all, just moments after the announcement, the White House was bombarded with people dancing in the streets and waving the American flag proudly and triumphantly.  But the impact of this development will be read in history books for centuries.  This is a MAJOR victory in the global war against terror.  For Americans and other nations that celebrate freedom, it's a testament to the fact that good always prevails over evil.  As Aaron Tippin sings in Where the Stars and Stripes and Eagle Fly,  "there's a lady that stands in a harbor for what we believe.  And there's a bell that still echoes the price that it cost to be free."  Osama Bin Laden has learned the price you pay when you try to deny that freedom.  Our lady STILL stands in the harbor and will continue to do so long after his legacy.

As I write this blog, I find it quite difficult to understand the scope and magnitude of this victory.  I think about our Terror Alert system and all of its color-levels and what they do or don't mean.  I think about what September 11th did to the way we check into an airport to travel.  I think about all those things that, quite frankly, seem like a nuisance.  But, most importantly, I think about going to New York City in October of 2001 and how weird it was to stand in Greenwich Village and watch a Halloween parade and still be able to smell the rubble from the World Trade Center.  It truly smelled like death.  I stood in New York City that night unsure of my safety and the safety of everyone around me.  We all were still trying to process what this man and his devoted followers were able to do to us on our home turf.  But that night . . . that awesome night with marching bands and floats and clowns and scary costumes and celebrities and drag queens . . . we all stood in the streets of lower Manhattan anyway.  We just had a hunch that Lady Liberty was going to prevail and on Sunday, May 1st, 2011, she did.

Darryl Worley, in that song we've all heard a thousand times, said " There's some things worth fighting for.
What about our freedom and this piece of ground?  We didn't get to keep 'em by backing down."  Though the War on Terror has been tedious, the United States has vowed to carry the flag and fight for freedom throughout the world.  We NEVER backed down.  Consequently, Osama Bin Laden has learned the most valuable of lessons.  We have been asked over and over "Have You Forgotten?"  And the answer . . . the answer he died for . . . is "No.  We have NOT forgotten."