Today, September 11, 2011, I reflected on where I was on that fateful day when our nation was attacked by Islamic Terrorists. On that day, my Mom woke me up early in the morning. Yes, I was not in Cambodia, but in Dallas, Texas with my wife. After several years of applying for a visa, it was granted and we arrived in the US a few days before September 11. I don’t remember anything about our trip except the attack.
I remember simply being glued to the television looking at pictures of the smoking buildings. Then, when the second plane hit the tower, we knew that our nation was under attack. I remember my Mom’s words to my wife on that day which was her first visit to the United States. She said, “I am sorry after all you have been through to have to experience another war.”
We cried when we thought of all who have died and we knew America would never be the same. A few weeks later we flew home to Cambodia. The plane was nearly empty and it seemed everyone was afraid to fly. Everyone looked suspicious. The nation rallied behind President Bush and his leadership and a few weeks later Afghanistan was invaded. Afghanistan was a nation which was training and hosting terrorists around the world.
Americans were told to be vigilant around the world. American’s had always been targets around the world, but now, in Muslim areas especially, Americans needed to be especially vigilant. Talk was brewing about invading Iraq. We knew that at some point, soon, Iraq and Saddam Hussein’s government would be taken out as well so they could not be used to attack America or any other nation either.
Then came March 4, 2003. To you it may mean nothing, to me, it is everything. That day my father, Bill Hyde, was killed in a bomb attack by Islamic terrorists. The FBI and US Embassy told us that the details of the bombing which killed my father were brought to Colin Powell at the State Department only hours later. A few weeks later President Bush invaded Iraq. On September 11 I never would have thought that this war would ever affect my family. Now it was personal.
I understand the pain of the family of victims of terror. From office workers in the World Trade Center, to military at the Pentagon, to those who died bringing down the airplane in Pennsylvania. I understand the sacrifice of those military families and others who have died. Missionaries, aid workers and private citizens who were kidnapped and killed in Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Indonesia and other countries as a result of this global war on terrorism. In this war, everyone is a target. The culture of freedom is a target. Christians are specifically targets.
Ten years later the war continues. Militarily no one can challenge America. Nations have fallen as a result of Osama Bin Laden. He is also dead and gone. America, now, is a very different nation than it was in 2001. Personal freedoms are greatly reduced. Economically, this global war has cost an estimated 3.2 trillion dollars (according to Newsweek magazine) and the finances of the nation are a mess. Christians and our Biblical worldview seem under considerable pressure in America while the government promotes political correctness in everything and tries to eliminate God from America. While, militarily we have a decisive victory, culturally we may be losing the war.
Personally, I have made a pledge to not be a bystander. I want to honor the lives lost, specifically my father, with my own. My goal is to show more love than those terrorists can hate; to love more people than who have died. Through love I have determined to change the culture of hate in the world. This is my personal war. It is a war of revenge for the loss of my father, but a war which will be won through love, not bullets or terror.
For me, I am ever more determined in my work to see our world change. No, I do not bring down nations, but I involve my life in helping to make where I live a much better place. Sharing the love of Jesus, rebuilding schools, helping orphans and widows, educating over a hundred kids, and anything else which I can to show love to others. Most of this I was not doing in 2011, but God has re-positioned me to influence culture on nations.