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9/11 Infographic – The Destiny Of A Nation

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Today marks the 11th anniversary of 9/11. There is no doubt the United States is indebted to our active duty military, veterans and their families for the tremendous sacrifices they’ve made (and continue to make) on our behalf. What I’m struggling with is whether or not we as a country are deserving of their sacrifice…

Nations rise and fall based upon the values that bring them together or drive them apart. It’s been said we are a nation at war. In fact, many will correctly point out we are a country engaged in multiple conflicts. I beg to differ – we are a nation at war by proxy. What we are is a military at war, hamstrung by an indecisive government, and a fickle population mostly oblivious to the sacrifices of a few. History has shown us time and again the destiny of a nation is most often determined by its ability to unite around crisis and endure through shared sacrifice. The current state of affairs does not portend well for our destiny as a nation.

The simple fact is less than 1% of our country’s population serves in the military. This small percentage of men and women carry an extremely heavy burden, while their families live each and every day only one knock at the door away from devastation. It’s been said, “People sleep peacefully in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to violence on their behalf.” But know this – our nations warriors cannot preserve ideals that we ignore, do not honor, or refuse to embrace.

We created the following infographic to offer some perspective as to the difference in our nations commitment and resolve by comparing our reaction to entering World War II after the bombing of Pearl Harbor with how we have reacted to the attacks of 9/11.

We were a mighty nation during World War II not because of our economic or military strength, but because of our national spirit. We were a mighty nation because of our ability to set aside petty differences, and to rally behind a collective commitment to a common set of values demonstrated by our willingness to sacrifice as an entire population. We are not that same nation today. We have mostly devolved to become a selfish people and a self-interested nation.

Other than in its creation, our world has never been perfect, and we’ll likely never experience perfection going forward. That’s okay, and most of us can accept that fact. What’s difficult for me to accept is we live in far too dangerous times to exhibit such callous disregard for anything other than ourselves, and if we as a nation don’t wake-up to this fact we will continue to see more chaos and calamity.

Our country must move away from self-interest and toward a bigger cause and a greater good. This is the only path to maintaining our might as a nation. The good news is greatness overcomes tragedy, and the power of a lasting and honorable legacy can fuel greatness that spans generations.

Bottom line: “The Greatest Generation” doesn’t have to be a historic reference. This is a country capable of having each generation become the next greatest generation, but only if we don’t lose site of our history. We must find a path back to sharing a common purpose in order to move forward in the fulfillment of our destiny.

Thoughts?

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11 Comments

    Mick

    September 11, 2012 at 1:50 am

    Hi, I’m an Australian Freelance Cartoonist, specializing in political cartoons.

    So please excuse me if I go off on a bit of a tangent here away from the intended direction of this post.

    My comment is not, in any way, meant to detract from the courage and dedication of those brave souls who have been sent into battle, by their country’s government.

    I’m including all countries around the globe here, regardless of cause or reasoning for such actions.

    Countries can achieve greatness without being involved in conflict. It just needs politicians to listen and talk (in that order).

    Having said that, wouldn’t it be great if we could incorporate globally, as a compulsory requirement, a basic tradition of war which prevailed many centuries ago.

    In days of old, when Knights were bold, we would see the King, mounted on his horse, lead the army into battle.

    How many leaders, over the last 100 years, would willingly march at the front of their country’s forces and lead them into attacking another country ?

    With this rule in place, there would have been few conflicts in the last 100 years, and very few in our future.

    But politicians are politicians, and a rule of that nature is never going to happen.

    Never !

    So, I’ll just sit back and keep lampooning them with my cartoons.

    http://www.cartoonmick.wordpress.com

    Cheers

    Mick

      Mike Myatt

      September 12, 2012 at 8:49 pm

      Thanks Mick – I agree most of our politicians would not be keen on the idea of leading the charge.

    Dan Collins

    September 11, 2012 at 9:53 am

    Michael – Excellent. The respect and support that the many give to those few who sacrifice so much is, in my opinion, often self serving and less than heartfelt. It’s sad that the comforts and freedoms afforded to us by individuals who believe in something greater than themselves are so often taken for granted or perceived as an entitlement. Thanks for a great post.

    Joseph Mello

    September 12, 2012 at 9:35 am

    This is an apples to oranges comparison. The scale of the war is different, the players involved different, and the type of warfare different. Also, you show 39,000+ personal vehicles produced in 2001-2012? That might be a bit low – if you mean cars and trucks, I am sure it is in the millions.

    In the panel for number of people who served, you compare the total enlistment from WW2, to just the current enlistment in the war zone. Shouldn’t you factor in the people who have served over the course of the time period 2001-2012?

    Also, as this war progressed, and we saw that the administration was prosecuting its own goals, based often on evidence it either misunderstood or perhaps contrived, the current conflict is not morally equivalent to WW2.

    We should support and applaud, and hold in reverence the sacrifices our service men and women make daily in defense of our country. Don’t demean them or our population, with rhetoric that isn’t based on fair comparisons.

      Mike Myatt

      September 12, 2012 at 8:56 pm

      Joseph,

      Thanks for your thoughtful response. We actually updated some of the numbers to include a broader look at auto production, as well as updated troop numbers in Afghanistan for the duration of the conflict.

      I have to say you are correct in saying that these two wars are apples and oranges. That
      is precisely our point. But the overarching idea is they shouldn’t be. War
      is war. The similarities between WWII and the War in Afghanistan are that
      Americans are fighting an enemy and being killed. Our hope with this graphic is
      to show our current war is being handled very differently than WWII in
      that our nation has not rallied behind our fighting men and women the same fashion as during WWII.

      As for your comment on the moral grounds not being
      equivalent, I could not disagree more. Not only were both wars started with the
      US being attacked, both wars are about fighting an evil that has and continues
      to kill Americans, and will continue to contrive ways to kill more Americans.
      Both wars are about fighting an enemy that won’t rest until America is no more.
      To say that our efforts in Afghanistan are anything less than that is demeaning
      to our troops.

      As for Iraq, we did not address that in our graphic
      but since you bring it up, I will have to defer to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
      who said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

      Again, thank you for your
      comments and though I disagree with you on several points, I believe we agree on what’s
      important: supporting those who sacrifice daily.

    Ron

    September 13, 2012 at 5:40 am

    Maj. Gen. Smedley Butler took something of a contrarian view in his “War Is A Racket” (available online for download). However, his respect for the lives of those in the ranks, and his credibility as one who had been there, cannot be called in question. He was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor twice.
    Ron

    Nathan

    September 14, 2012 at 12:45 am

    Dear Mr. Myatt and fellow readers,

    It is my suffering generation that struggles most in this
    time of peril. We, gloomy flowers opened to a dark, thunderous sky. Mike, we agree
    that the nation must unite in shared sacrifice, commitment and resolve. Young
    sons and middle-class aunts and C-suite men and rich old grandmothers, too. How
    else to share a bright, glorious tomorrow?

    We all must have skin in the game. Time, talent and
    treasure are required. Leaders used to ride into battle first. Leaders used to
    lead. So what now? A draft? A tax? A great program at home? The mothers in
    Kansas and New York can’t bear more war! Who will help pay the great price –
    not to mention the debt!

    To pave destiny’s path, we all indeed must lay a brick.

    -Nathan, 26, linkd.in/etm7XI

    Nathan

    September 14, 2012 at 9:36 am

    Dear Mr. Myatt and fellow readers,

    It is my suffering generation that struggles most in this time of peril. We, gloomy flowers opened to a dark, thunderous sky. Mike, we agree that the nation must unite in shared sacrifice, commitment and resolve. Young sons and middle-class aunts and C-suite men and rich old grandmothers, too. How else to share a bright, glorious tomorrow?

    We all must have skin in the game. Time, talent and treasure are required. Leaders used to ride into battle first. Leaders used to lead. So what now? A draft? A tax? A great program at home? The mothers in Kansas and New York can’t bear more war! Who will help pay the great price – not to mention the debt!

    To pave destiny’s path, we all indeed must lay a brick.

    -Nathan, 26, linkd.in/etm7XI

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