Jewish World Review August 6, 2004 / 19 Menachem-Av 5764

Neil Cavuto

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The summer of 2001 | I know you're still focused on having fun this summer. Maybe you're back from vacation or just about to start one. Maybe you'll host some barbecues or family gatherings. Maybe both. I'm the last person in the world to want to rain on your parade. But I want to remind you of a different summer. A different time that wasn't all that long ago. Actually, it was just three summers ago.

I want to remind you of the summer of 2001. It was the first summer with a president named George W. Bush, and a rough summer for anyone named "investor." The market was correcting, and once-favored technology stocks were imploding.

But we as a nation were playing. Taking trips. Going to ballgames. Enjoying barbecues. Typical summer stuff. And at the movie theaters, it was typical summer fare. A third installment of a flick about dinosaurs and yet another crack at a movie about apes.

More telling that summer was a movie that proved very big that summer — a movie about terror, about a surprise attack, about the worst single assault on U.S. soil ever. It was called "Pearl Harbor." We watched it in awe. We debated again how it could have happened, what signals we missed, what the president could have done. I remember documentaries anew that pondered that fateful day. Things we learned. Things we didn't.

Little did I know, little did any of us know, that as we debated what enemies were planning to do to us back in 1941, few of us could have comprehended what enemies were plotting in 2001. The very summer we were looking back, they were looking forward. When we were focused on a movie about a terror attack 60 years earlier, they were focused on an attack they would launch just weeks later.

It was an innocent time — our last innocent time — when we gamely took commercial flights and thought little of the danger, and worked in tall office buildings and feared little of the threat. But the danger was building and the threat palpably escalating. There would be practice flights that summer, by the very teams that would launch evil on us that September. Some of us sat next to these terrorists and didn't know it. Maybe you shared a first-class cabin with them and didn't think twice about it.

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In those days, only three summers ago, we flew planes effortlessly and traveled the world fearlessly. We didn't fear bridges, trains or tunnels. We were devil-may-care, unaware a devil was there.

It's funny how only a few short years erase the memories, how we revert to the good images and forget the bad. It's almost as if Sept. 11 never happened. News organizations refuse to show the brutality of that day to this day. We gloss over the issue of terror with sanitized snapshots of a couple of skyscrapers on fire. We never show the sequence of events that led to that fire or the fallout from that fire. We dare not show planes ramming into those buildings or people jumping from those buildings.

We have moved on from then. Perish the thought we should be reminded of that time. I could understand us glossing over horror in the summer of 2001. It amazes me our ability to gloss over terror in the summer of 2004. As if it didn't happen. As if it didn't jolt. And scare. And shock. And destroy. As if people didn't jump to their deaths and heroes didn't save many more from certain death. It's as if we've learned nothing.

Well, it's time for me to remind us all of something. We were attacked. Three thousand of our people died. And the people who murdered them are still after us. They're still trying to kill us. To bury us. Destroy us. Because . . . they know us. They know how we like to gloss over and move on, bury the bad thoughts and think only good thoughts. They know we have neither the stomach nor the tolerance for the unpleasant. They count on that. They count on us. Just like they did three summers ago.

Just like they are doing this summer.

Americans are a wonderfully resourceful and upbeat people . . . we bury the bad. But that doesn't mean we should forget the bad or what bad people do. Our enemies counted on that then. They shouldn't count on that now.

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Neil Cavuto is managing editor of Business News at FOX News Channel. He is also the host of "Your World with Neil Cavuto" and "Cavuto on Business." He's the author of "More Than Money : True Stories of People Who Learned Life's Ultimate Lesson". (Click HERE to purchase. Sales help fund JWR.) Comment by clicking here.


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© 2003, Neil Cavuto