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Twenty Years Later

Twenty years ago, in America there was a terrible terrorist attack. This event was long before any Otemae student was born. It is reasonable that you have no idea and no feeling about that time in history. I want to talk with you a little bit about that time.

Twenty years ago, on September 11, four large airplanes with people on them were hijacked. The hijackers were from terror groups that you might know. Those groups were called Al-Qaeda and ISIS. The leader of those terrorists was a man named Osama bin Laden.

The terrorists took four large airplanes and crashed them in different places. Two airplanes crashed into two very large towers in New York City. One airplane crashed into the Pentagon building and one airplane crashed in the countryside because the passengers were fighting with the terrorists.

It was a very strange and crazy time. 2,977 people were killed and there was huge damage done to New York City. America believed that Afghanistan terrorists were trying to kill all Americans. After that, there were many army soldiers who were sent to the country of Afghanistan to find the terrorists. Many airplanes, many bombs, many people were killed, and things began to get very confused and very difficult. The Americans first went to Afghanistan, and then later decided to also go to Iraq and fight people there. The American leaders told the world that they were fighting terrorists everywhere. The world believed America and supported them for many years.

But after a while, the wars in Afghanistan and in Iraq did not stop sooner. They continued. More people were killed. More soldiers went to both Afghanistan and Iraq. Many leaders in the army did not know when the war would stop. Finally, after twenty years, President Biden in America decided that the war was finished and all the soldiers should go home.

But now we have many questions. Why did the war not stop? Why did so many people die in these wars? When we look at the numbers of the people who died in these two wars it is a little shocking. After the 2,997 people were killed in America many more people died. 3,576 soldiers from America, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, and the U.K. died. Over 68,000 Afghani army soldiers died. And over 46,000 city and country people in Afghanistan also died. The total is over 212,000 people.

That is unbelievable.

Of course it is so terrible that about 3,000 people in America were killed in a terror attack in New York. We must never forget that. But we must also remember that the war that came after that event killed another 212,000 people.

We need to ask the question, “When is war necessary?” The American example that we now have in history shows us that war, as a kind of revenge, brings a huge amount of human death. We must find better ways to prevent and stop terror. And we must also find better ways to respond when we are attacked by other people.

When we think about war we must also think very carefully about our leaders. Right now, Japan is choosing a new Prime Minister. In my country of Canada we will also choose our leader again. It is very important for us, for the people, to understand history and the news so that we can choose good leaders. A bad leader can do huge damage to a country when there is a terrible event. A good leader can save many humans from death. Voting and choosing your leader is a very, very important thing that we do.

Maybe the news is boring. Maybe you are not interested in history or in government. I understand your feeling. When we watch leaders speak on television it always makes me sleepy. But, we must be awake. We must watch them carefully and to understand who they are. Let’s promise each other to stay awake and to choose good leaders, to understand history, and to think more about our safety and responsibility to other people.

We are the people who choose our leaders, and we must talk together to make good communities, good cities, good prefectures, and good countries. It is our job and it is also our duty. Let’s do our best to stop terrorism and to be very careful about war. Japan and Canada are leaders in peace around the world. Let’s be proud of our countries and do our best to be safe, healthy, and educated.

Thank you very much! Have a great day.