Wed. Jan 26th, 2022

One of the greatest things about the winter break is going home and seeing your friends. You can’t wait to tell them about all of your fun at WCU, the party life, the clubs you joined, the people you’ve met, what you plan to do next semes’ter, etc.Last year, one of my friends from back home told me how great her trip to Athens, Greece this summer was going to be. For quite some time now she’s been planning this trip. She was going to see her home village, the country sites, the famous architecture and of course the summer 2004 Olympics. She seemed so excited about it, but this past week, I was really perplexed when she told me she was canceling her trip. It just didn’t make sense; why would she save all her money up and then just cancel like that. So I asked her and she told me. Terrorism. She didn’t want to risk a possible terrorist attack on her flight or at the games, given that the Olympics was an international event and a possible target.

My initial reaction was, “Hey it’s her choice, better safe than sorry.” In fact, that’s exactly what I said. Later that night however, I thought about the bigger picture. President Bush has constantly called on the American people, specifically civilians to do their part in the “War on Terror,” but that also means going about our daily lives. If you want to take a vacation or travel abroad, then by all means go ahead. However, if we continue to let ourselves get disheartened because of our own country’s greatest challenge, then we are letting the terrorists win.

People should not have to live in fear. They need to be confident in the War on Terror, otherwise there’s no point in fighting. My friend has basically decided to make the “risk of terrorism” into the lens that she views her life through. Now, I definently agree with everyone here that we should never forget this heinous attack and continue to be cautious as the “War on Terror” is a permanent war, but we can not let this tragedy run our lives. If we do just that, then we will have only defeated ourselves, we have given up our own free will and we have defeated the American Dream. Furthermore, Americans will only have themselves to blame, because choosing to live in fear during a time of war is an act of self-destruction. I say we fight.

I too plan on traveling abroad this summer, and rest assured, I’m not going to cancel my trip and let terrorism run my life. There is no way I, or any other American for that matter, should have to live a life of panic. Because if we do, then we let the terrorists win. I will definitely be suggesting to my friend to reconsider her travel plans because we need to “get up” and be Americans again. There are many ways that civilians can fight/support the “War on Terrorism”; write letters to the troops, fly the flag, voice your concerns to elected officials, but most importantly, be strong and optimistic in your own American spirit, because choosing to live in fear doesn’t help. The greatest nation in the world, the free world, should not and will not cower to the threats of terrorists.

Anthony Maalouf is a sophomore majoring in political science with a minor in Spanish studies.

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