Editor's note: The following column originally was published Sept. 12, 2001, in the opinion pages of the Tribune. At the time, Jim Ripley, now retired, was executive editor.
I may not know your name, but I know what bothers cowardly curs like you.
You can't stand the thought of a country where Catholic and Protestant, Jew and Mormon, Muslim and nonbeliever live, work and play side by side.
You think we're weak because men and women have the same freedom to make their own decisions about how they want to live their lives.
You're enraged by our economic success. Success that has ignited an era of progress unparalleled in history. Success that threatens your tyranny because the Internet is shredding the cloak of ignorance that empowers you.
You tremble in anger at our music and our art and our movies. Our culture is spreading over the world because it is rooted in freedom of expression and fed by the high-energy stew of Hispanic-America, African-American, European-American, Asian-American and Middle Eastern-American.
You shoot your pathetic rifles into the air in protest of our military might and fight from behind the cover of children and civilians who've done you no harm.
Well, you hurt us today. You killed thousands of American men, women and children. You destroyed a national landmark and monument to our success. Commerce, air traffic, even sports came to a halt across this great land.
You've taught us to look over our shoulders.
But you can't stop us. You can't destroy us.
Our airplanes will soon be back in the air. The markets will open and the business of America will resume.
Our artistic expression will be reshaped by the sorrow of Sept. 11, and in the end strengthened.
On the graves of the dead, flowers will bloom. You will be hunted down and destroyed. And our way of life will march on.
We'll show you what we're made of, you son of a bitch.
• Jim Ripley is the former executive editor of the East Valley Tribune. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.