Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue and We’re Still Standing

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Steven Tiemann

C. Polasek

English 9

29 March, 2012

Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue and We’re Still Standing

The Voices of Patriotism After 9/11

On September 11, 2001, America fell under attack. Civilian airliners, piloted by al-Qaeda hijackers, flew into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. The hijackers attempted to fly a third plane into the U.S. Capitol Building, but the passengers attacked, forcing the terrorists to crash in Pennsylvania. 3000 people from 115 countries were lost (September 11, Newsweek). After the attacks, Americans were united in patriotism of a level not seen for years, and responded by launching military strikes against Afghanistan, where al-Qaeda militants were being sheltered by the Taliban regime. Around this time, country singer Toby Keith wrote a song called Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue, which was inspired by the attacks. A poem by Hannah Schoechert, a seventh grade girl, wrote a poem around the same time that symbolized how America would recover and fight back. Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue by Toby Keith and We’re Still Standing by Hannah Schoechert express how America’s patriotic feelings in the aftermath of 9/11 helped justify the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan.

The terrorists who launched the attacks were led by Osama bin Laden, leader of al-Qaeda. He ordered the attacks from his base of operations in the mountains of Afghanistan. Once negotiations with the Taliban, another terrorist group who took over Afghanistan and sheltered bin Laden, failed, the U.S. launched military strikes against al-Qaeda training camps (Zalman, War). Like in the song and poem, the U.S. demanded justice with the long arm of the U.S. military.

In the poem We’re Still Standing, Schoechert says, “Bin Laden tried to crush our land, but we stood our ground, with our flag in hand.” She was talking about al-Qaeda tried to throw America into chaos, to bring America to its knees, but the U.S. wouldn’t go down without a fight. She also says “Blue for justice that will be done, proving once more these colors don’t run.” This is saying that the U.S would have justice on bin Laden and again stating the U.S. wouldn’t back down. She was right. On May 2, 2011, SEAL Team Six brought Osama bin Laden to justice with two 5.56 millimeter bullets in his chest and one in his head.

Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue was written by Toby Keith in the aftermath of 9/11. In the song, he expresses how al-Qaeda launched a surprisingly powerful attack with the line, “A mighty sucker-punch came flyin’ in from somewhere in the back”, perhaps talking about how al-Qaeda attacked from a backwater country, hitting the most powerful nation on Earth. He also talks about the devastating force of the U.S. military strikes against Afghanistan for sheltering al-Qaeda with the line “Man, we lit up your world like the Fourth of July”, which the U.S. did when the U.S. Air Force bombed cities in Afghanistan with thousands of pounds of explosives. Like in the poem, Keith says “Justice will be served and the battle will rage…you’ll be sorry that you messed with the U.S. of A.” talking about how al-Qaeda would face justice for their crimes and regret attacking the U.S.

Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue by Toby Keith and We’re Still Standing by Hannah Schoechert show how America would not sit by while terrorist thugs massacred thousands of innocent people, but instead strike back with even more force. Both works also symbolize how the U.S. invaded Afghanistan after 9/11. These works show the patriotic feelings that ran extremely strong after 9/11. These feelings helped the U.S. Government justify the invasion of Afghanistan.

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