A Message from the Editor
Gail M. Armstrong
I was in my hotel room in Washington, D.C., a few blocks from the Capitol, when news came of the first strike against the World Trade Center on September 11. As unspeakable horror unfolded in New York, fresh reports came of other hijacked planes and an explosion at the Pentagon.
I headed with associates to the Church of Scientology on the northwest side, becoming tangled in the traffic as thousands evacuated the downtown. It was eerie to be in gridlock in the heart of the nations capital, accompanied by commentator din on the radio and the occasional rumble of an F-16, wondering if, when and where the next attack might be.
But thoughts of our own safety were short lived as the enormity of the attack came into focus, along with the spontaneous and overwhelming flood of support for Americans from around the world.
The terrorists who plotted the deaths of thousands of innocent citizens in secret, and those who lived amongst us before brutally executing those plans, have made a mockery of courage and left a legacy of treachery.
It is the continuing tragedy of our times that fellow human beings can be twisted into killers who believe their acts of hatred, revenge, and cowardly acts of murder and suicide are justified by a holy war. Recent evidence points to extensive drug use and psychiatric mind control methods to create killers out of their followers.
In stark contrast we saw real bravery and courage exemplified in New York and Washington, where sons and daughters, parents, spouses and siblings trapped in the World Trade Center reached out to others. We saw that courage in passengers aboard doomed Flight 93 who attacked the terrorist hijackers, aborting their murderous plan and saving the lives of others.
We saw that courage in the thousands of firefighters, police, military and other rescue workers who strived relentlessly to save others, hundreds giving their lives in the process.
That courage inspired and led thousands of others from the Red Cross, Salvation Army and other volunteer organizations in the relief effort. I had the privilege to work with them, along with hundreds of other Scientology Volunteer Ministers, to assist in the rescue and recovery operations at the Pentagon and at Ground Zero in New York.
And that same courage has manifested itself in all those in this country and across the world who have given of themselves in any way they can, wherever they are.
This was the one result that the authors of destruction did not want: a stronger and united force for good, bound by that courage and determination to defend what is honorable and decent, a people joined and committed to the preservation of freedom for all.
But with this in mind, lets take pause to look to our own backyard.
At no time has it been more imperative to prevent discrimination and intolerance against cultural, ethnic or religious groups. Some already seek to exploit the tragic events in America to paint Muslims with a broad brush and vent prejudices.
Yet, isnt that the same brand of ideological blindness that eventually relegates mothers, fathers and children to statistics on a terrorist tally?
True courage lies not in accepting the invitation to vengeance and fear, but in standing up to evil with a sense of honor and justice. The former can bring only tyranny, the latter the triumph of freedom.
Let that courage we saw on September 11 and in its aftermath serve as a beacon to us all.