- Ada, Oklahoma

September 9, 2013

Remember, there are still orcs among us

Lone Beasley Publisher

Ada —

Wednesday is Sept. 11, the 12th anniversary of the attack in New York and Washington. Those under 18 years of age may be forgiven for not remembering. 

But the rest of us know exactly where we were and what we were doing when we heard the news both World Trade Center towers had been hammered by passenger jets that horrible morning in 2001. Later we learned of the similar attack on the Pentagon and the crash of the fourth airliner in Pennsylvania.

We have a name for September 11th now – Patriot Day – so designated as a reminder to honor the nearly 3,000 innocents who died at the hands of what syndicated columnist Kathleen Parker correctly labeled “the orcs” among us. The allusion, of course, is to the deeply sinister and vile creatures in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. The name fits. 

Less memorable, perhaps, is the immediate aftermath of 9-1-1. America, or least a large portion of it, got religion again. The “orcs” had attacked us before, but the damage had been superficial and limited. Sept. 11, however, was a roundhouse kick to the back of the head. We found ourselves sprawling on the ground, surprised it could happen to us and humbled that it did. 

Churches filled up. Prayers were said. We were on our knees, at least figuratively speaking, and looking beyond ourselves for answers. God suddenly became important again. 

It didn’t last long. It wasn’t exactly as if danger past became danger forgotten. We got smarter about such things, implemented preventatives, and to our credit so far nothing close has been repeated. 

Coincidentally, these dozen years later an attempt is being made in Massachusetts to strike “one nation under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance as it is being said in public schools there. It isn’t the first time such an effort has been put forth, but always before the plaintiffs have tried, and failed, to make the case that saying “under God” violates their First Amendment right to free speech. According to, this new lawsuit asserts that saying such violates the Massachusetts Constitution. 

You’re probably aware of the fact “under God” was added to the Pledge of Allegiance by Congress in 1954 to show a distinction between America and the Soviet Union. In more recent history, until a September 11 comes along, we live in a nation largely unconcerned about delineating such differences. When things are peaceful, we see no reason. 

It is, perhaps, only coincidental irony that the lawsuit is being put forth in the home of John Adams, our second president, who said, “Statesmen, my dear Sir, may plan and speculate for Liberty, but it is Religion and Morality alone, which can establish the Principles upon which Freedom can securely stand.”

He and his countrymen had just fought a valiant war to rid themselves of the orcs of their day. Their dependence on a Higher Power was evident. 

We would do well to do likewise. There are still orcs among us.