It was on this day ten years ago that Unknowncountry.com became a daily news site. We found ourselves publishing story after story on that day, about the horrifying events that were unfolding. Since then, we have not gone a single day without publishing fresh news stories. We concentrate on science, but with a uniquely open-minded perspective about the unknown, and have, like the rest of the United States and western civilization, grown out of the violence and terror of that day, rather than been defeated by it.
Watching the remembrance, I have been deeply struck by the symbolism of the 911 flag, and what America's great battle for human freedom really means. Our country is not only a nation, but an idea and an ideal. From the beginning, it has been loved by human beings everywhere who see it as a source of hope, and hated with equal vehemence by those who fear freedom, their own as well as everybody else's.
Our constitution is the only governmental document in the world that institutionalizes the 'pursuit of happiness' as a basic human right. Our founding fathers drew this idea, as they did so much else, from the thought of the ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle, specifically from his Nichomachean Ethics, which identifies the ethical foundations upon which happiness may be built.
All around us, and within our country itself, are those who hate human happiness. More than anything, though, identifying it as a right of man is what distinguishes our country from all others, and makes it the leader of the free world.
But what is this happiness that the founding fathers thought so important? In part, it is the right to pursue material wealth, certainly. But more than that, it is the right to seek within ourselves for guideposts that might provide meaning to our lives. This is why they also made ours a secular nation, not to deny belief, but to make room for all belief. It is why Thomas Jefferson memorialized in his epitaph what he beleived were his two greatest accomplishments, the authorship of the Declaration of Independence and of the Virginia Statute of Religious Freedom, the first such statute in the world.
It was out of religious fanatacism and a desire to enforce religious dictatorship that the 911 terrorists acted against us. Two thousand nine hundred and seventy-seven people lost their lives on September 11, 2001, unexpectedly joining the beloved legion defenders who have given their lives in support of this nation. They came to their truth, every one, as martyrs on behalf of a country that has given its heart and soul and blood in proclamation to every human being on earth: you have a right to seek your happiness. We identify ourselves as its defenders, and we call to you to join us in its pursuit.