Eighteen years have passed since that sad Sept. 11 in 2001, when terrorism inspired by Islamist fanaticism was intended to bring not only the United States but also the entire democratic Western world to its knees. And I want to emphasize the word democratic, because, lamentably, there are countries that’s leaders have not connected with the pain of, and have even rejoiced over, that catastrophe, and they consider the event to be fair and just punishment for Yankee imperialism.

Eighteen long years have passed since that tragic event grieved by all good men, who, upon hearing the American national anthem, place hands on hearts, shouting, “I, too, feel like an American citizen,” in a show of solidarity, love and brotherhood with the American people.

Eighteen years have passed since we all saw two planes full of people crashing into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in the heart of New York City. We, ourselves, witnessed the deaths of thousands of innocent human beings. We were horrified by that terrible wave of violence, and rather than sink into a fathomless oblivion over time, that horrific tragedy of Sept. 11, 2001 has become a living and present memory, determining the way we live. The fear we share, that, in whatever moment, we could become innocent victims of fanatical terrorism has shaped the way we live.

All that has transpired since then, including rationally reacting to shameful terrorist aggression, has been deemed to be wrong by a large part of the Western world, to such an extent that many have come to believe that Sept. 11 was an attack not perpetrated by others but committed by Americans on themselves to justify the intervention in Iraq in order to take control of Iraqi oil — a baseless theory that disproportionately feeds the genuine anti-American sentiment held by many.

The terror that at any moment we could fall victim to fanatical terrorism is alive and present.

Nevertheless, the nearly unanimously held idea of an infamous attack perpetrated on the Western world has turned into the idea that the action was a just and deserved punishment against American imperialism. The sad thing is that there are those who believe it.