I don't know about you, but it's been a long couple of years.
In 2001 our country suffered a great loss.
Some mourned and naively wondered why anybody would hate us.
Some mourned and recognized opportunity wrapped in revenge.
We responded by declaring war on a concept.
We responded by attacking a country that wasn't involved.
We responded by taking more lives while sacrificing our own.
We relished our power by posturing on aircraft carriers
-- orchestrating photo-ops under huge banners --
while denying media coverage of our own war dead.
Because if you can't see it, then it can't be all that bad.
Or it can't be at all.
We toppled statues from foreign regimes
while we built our own heroic delusions higher than ever before.
We were the ultimate role model
saving the rest of the world from itself.
But we forgot that we live in this world too.
We were not immune to the lure of power or wealth.
And by making our own rules,
we would become more powerful.
More wealthy. More heroic.
We were sure to win. And that's all that mattered.
Being on top.
But we forgot to save us from ourselves.
And now our towers are crumbling and our money is gone.
The people of this country are holding their breath praying that nothing else happens
While our leaders use one hand to count the days until they leave
and the other hand to point fingers of blame at everybody else.
Where is our aircraft carrier now and what would the banner say?
After too many years of trying to beat up the entire world
and only succeeding in giving ourselves a big black eye
let's hope we're ready to exit this long, lonely tunnel.
Let's hope that lessons have been learned.
Let's hope that instead of thumping our chest and crowing our delusions of grandeur,
we might be able to exercise, patience, humility, respect and a true sense of patriotism.
Tomorrow, let "Mission Accomplished" be a new statement.
Simple but powerful.