The Dillard Doctrine

Urban Conservative Commentary on Politics & Life

We Have Endured

Endure: verb /enˈd(y)o͝or/
Suffer (something painful or difficult) patiently; remain in existence; last

It’s been ten years.

Ten years since Americans confronted a painful reality-that a segment of the world’s population would do anything, including commit murder on a previously-to-us unforeseen scale, to achieve their demented version of society. Ten years since 3,000 people lost their lives in one of the most cowardly attacks imaginable. Ten years of war, ten years of bringing bodies home from foreign lands.

The time has taken its toll. From our nation’s fiscal health to its political health, Americans have suffered. The physical and psychological wounds of this conflict have touched more than just those who wore the military uniform. They are evident in the grieving widows and widowers; the children who grow up missing a parent; the unfilled hole in New York, the unworn stone of the Pentagon, and the scar in the earth in Shanksville.

Despite this, we have accomplished something that, ten years ago, no one could see. We’ve endured.

We have weathered the storm that became life after that September day. Despite constant bickering among our leaders, we have learned that, at the end of the day, what unites us-that shared American existence-is greater than the issues that we divide over. We’ve bound together when necessary-in times of natural disasters and man-made tragedies, both foreign and domestic-to show anew the greatness of our nation and her people. We’ve made ourselves stronger and more secure, while learning to leverage the power of our democracy with that of our military. We’ve shed blood and spent treasure, in pursuit of that most elusive of human ideals-peace.

And in a compound in Pakistan, in a hail of bullets, an American citizen-or citizens-moved us a step closer to its realization.


If you’ve read any of my previous reflections on 9/11, there is a constant theme-remembrance. The desire to reopen the scar left on my mind and my heart that day. The desire to redeploy, to go to Gitmo again, to join my friends in places acknowledged and unacknowledged. Ten years of constant conflict-physical, emotional, and psychological-have taken their toll. The events of 9/11 and its aftermath have challenged me; tested my body, my relationships, my spirit.

But-like my country-they haven’t destroyed me. I’ve evolved, and endured.

For the first time in as long as I’ve remembered, there’s no need to refight the wars of the past. No need to watch the coverage, read the newspapers, cry at the tributes. The motivational anger of my youth-the desire to destroy a “them” that I didn’t fully understand, and cared less about-has given way to a new motivation, one that greets me every morning when I get out of my bed.

My friend from high school was right. I want my children to know of 9/11; I want all children to know of it. But there’s no need for them to know it the way I do. That’s not for them; they deserve better. Their study of war will be academic, not personal. I-and we, the millions of other Americans that woke up to the horrors of that morning-wear those scars so they-mine and the millions of other children born after that day-will, God willing, never have them. While our innocence was shattered, theirs is intact.

And as long as we continue to endure, it will remain so.


Many people will ask, is it time to let the nightmare that is 9/11 go? Is it more a scar of remembrance now? Is it necessary to stay on a footing that reminds us, every single day, of that moment in time?

As I’ve said before, no one will ever completely forget the events of that day. Time, as it always does, will heal all wounds. But the part of endurance that will lose many is wrapped up in the second definition above.

We are a different nation than the one that existed on September 10, 2011. No less American, but different in many respects. How so?

A concept that was foreign to many minds-that outside actors would bring their violent ideologies to our shores-was brought home in the most vivid of images. The war, such as it is, came home. Unfortunately, even with the execution of bin Laden, it still remains. Our fight against a fringe element of one of the world’s largest religions is as necessary today as it was on September 12. Let’s be certain: we’re not fighting Islam in its entirety. Contrary to what’s been said, I believe that the majority of Muslims want to live in peace and worship God according to their understanding of Him. That their understanding differs from mine is fine; that’s the beauty of America.

However, to that subsection that believes that they can force their will, their laws, their perverted version of religion on America, I have these words:

You have struck your blows. Ten years ago, you struck your largest.

We have suffered patiently. Our existence remains, through political divides, a decade of conflict, and economic recession. And when the history of 9/11 and the War on Terror are written, it will reflect this simple fact:

Where you have failed, we have endured.


Written by Coby Dillard

September 9, 2011 at 7:00 pm

Posted in Editorials

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