Later this year we will mark the 20th anniversary of the day that terrorists from foreign shores struck at symbols of American strength.
Enemies took down pillars of commerce in New York City and tore a gaping wound in the shield of the nation’s defense.
If not for the actions of brave people who stormed the cockpit of United Airlines Flight 93, the nation’s Capitol may have been another victim.
That desecration — a blow against the “People’s House” — would come this year.
It came not at the hands of a far flung enemy, but from Americans who have been whipped into a frenzy. Many of them marched under a sea of flags representing not our nation, but an individual.
Others marched under flags designed to show support for law enforcement officers — even as they wrestled and fought with them. On Thursday, we learned that Capitol Police officer Brian D. Sicknick died as a result of injuries sustained during the attack.
Some marched with dark reminders from history, including a man with a sweatshirt invoking the death camp at Auschwitz.
The flag of a group that sought the end of the Union itself — the flag of the Confederacy — was paraded through the halls of its very heart.
Nearly 20 years after the world watched symbols of American power crumble, they watched as symbols of American democracy were assaulted not from without, but from within.
What message does that send to the enemies of the United States? Perhaps more importantly, what message does that send to our friends?
This will go down as a dark chapter in American history.
Like the events of 9/11 nearly two decades before, people watched as the unfathomable happened in real time — and wondered what the world would be like in the days that followed.
Time will tell. Americans will tell.
Good and decent people of all political stripes have raised their voice in anger and opposition to the forces that rampaged across the Capitol — as well as the ill-conceived notions that sent them there.
Perhaps none have spoken more clearly than Congressman Chip Roy who held firm to the United States Constitution in the wake of the attack and refused to oppose the certification of the Electoral College.
“And that vote may well sign my political death warrant. But so be it. I swore an oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States — and I will not bend its words into contortions for political expediency and then claim I am honoring that oath.”
Roy’s words serve as an important reminder.
This nation’s servants are sworn to support, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States — not political parties or presidents.
We are a nation of principles.
Americans should remember that.