THE horror we felt as we watched the heartless slaughter of almost 3,000 human beings in co-ordinated attacks on the United States 12 years ago cannot be erased from our minds.
That Jamaicans were among those who were so senselessly killed in those heinous acts, committed by terrorists using hijacked commercial jets to bomb the World Trade Centre in New York, made our pain even more severe.
We remember watching with revulsion the celebration of that mass murder and the labelling of the bombers as heroes by some people in other parts of the world where anti-American sentiments run deep.
However, this newspaper continues to maintain that the monsters who snuffed out so many innocent lives in those attacks were nothing more than cowards who used Islam as a cloak to perpetrate one of the most abominable acts ever against humanity.
We accept that America, given its history of military involvement in a number of countries, does have enemies. However, there can be no justification for the carnage that was inflicted on the USA, and indeed the world, on September 11, 2001.
No one can successfully challenge that those evil acts changed the world forever, creating general suspicion and, in some instances, rejection of Islam which, ironically, abhors the use of violence.
The bombings also created fear, a political atmosphere receptive to retaliation, and resulted in US troops going to war in Iraq and Afghanistan — wars that have claimed thousands of lives and left too many people with physical and mental scars.
While we have argued in this space before that democracy must be motivated by the force of ideas and not the force of arms, we are resolute in our position that the world should not submit to the climate of fear that the lily-livered hijackers and their now late leader, the scum Osama bin Laden, wanted to create by their actions.
Every opportunity, we insist, must be taken to make clear the fact that murder and mayhem will not shake our belief in the ideals of democracy, freedom and tolerance of cultural diversity.
This point has been clearly articulated by US President Mr Barack Obama in the past. "The terrorists who attacked us that September morning are no match for the character of our people, the resilience of our nation, or the endurance of our values," he said in a broadcast to the American people two years ago. "And no matter what comes our way, as a resilient nation, we will carry on."
We agree with President Obama, for to do otherwise would be to surrender to the terrorists whose sole aim is to satisfy their bloodlust, while salivating at the thought of people living in fear.
So today, as we reflect with the American people and the families of those Jamaicans who were victims of this slaughter, we again express our sympathy but affirm our commitment to the ideals of freedom, democracy and tolerance shared by our two nations with a long history of friendship.