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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, September 12, 2001

America must not be paralyzed by terror

America may have lost another layer of its innocence in the aftermath of yesterday's horrifying events, but it did not — must not — lose its confidence and pride.

As the dead are grieved and the wounded healed, the country will have to find a way to deal with one of the most nightmarish events in our history.

This much is clear: We must not succumb to the fear these terrorists clearly sought to create. We will not be demoralized or paralyzed by this.

And equally important, we must not abandon the democratic principles that make us the envy and model for the world.

The terrorists dream they can provoke this democratic nation into undemocratic attacks on our basic freedoms.

In the days, weeks and months to come, we will experience strains on our liberties. Travel will become more inconvenient as extra security is applied at airports, train stations and other facilities.

Access to public and government buildings will be more difficult. Police will be watchful, and our men and women in the armed forces will be on a high state of alert.

These changes we can accept. But we must not allow these cowards to have their victory by stealing from us our civil liberties. Our freedom to travel, to assemble freely and to maintain our personal dignity must be protected.

We heard a lot about Pearl Harbor yesterday, as commentators compared yesterday's tragedies to the devastation of Pearl Harbor.

The analogy was apt. But we must also remember that America rose from the ashes of Pearl Harbor stronger, more determined and more of a world leader than ever before.

We should also remember the words of President Franklin Roosevelt, in his call for a national response to the Japanese attack. America had to respond, Roosevelt said, not indiscriminately or out of vengeance, but in a measured way that would make a world "in which this nation and what this nation represents, will be safe for our children."

Those words made sense 60 years ago as Honolulu smoldered. They make equal sense today as we mourn this horrifying tragedy.