By the time I knocked on the door of this simple home and spoke with the mother, explaining my purpose for the unannounced visit, the tears flowed freely as I had opportunity to express my own personal gratitude for the ultimate price that had been paid for my freedom.
As an American, I watched the television Sunday evening with that same measure of solemnity and gratitude. I felt extreme pride in our nation and our fighting men and women for a job well done.
Invariably, I knew political criticisms and bipartisanship would slip back into the equation over the next few days.
However, it was certainly nice to experience the serenity of unity, similar to the feeling our nation had right after the attacks of September 11, even if it was for just a few hours.
In addition to that pride, I could not help but hold a prayer in my heart for the families of the men and women who were the victims of Osama bin Laden’s reign of terror. I also continued to feel tenderness for families of soldiers who had sacrificed their lives in pursuit of our safety and liberty.
In reflecting on this effort to defeat terrorism, this major milestone is simply not the end.
The pathway of liberty will continue to be lit by the hearts and souls of those who have lived and died in the uniform of our great nation. I refuse to use this moment to further antagonize partisan bickering or even to criticize our President.
I applaud all leaders, regardless of their party affiliation, who stand for that liberty and recognize and work to defeat the threats to our nation.
Those threats will be ongoing. As such, let us be united in this great cause of freedom.
Whether this event further inflames extremists or confuses them into oblivion, I cannot say. However, the mere fact that we did not stop and we did not quit can only weaken the faint hearts of those who carry on this cowardly cause.
The message of Sunday evening was more than just a historical announcement. It boldly declared that this nation will defend itself against her enemies.
While we will strive to never give offense, and while we do not delight in the shedding of blood, we will not suffer ourselves to lay down our lives, or the lives of our families to any murderous or cruel barbarian.
All doubt has been removed. If you attack us, we will find you and we will remove you from this earth.