The American Prize

September 20, 2001

By Tom DeWeese

“I can’t imagine anything that would infuriate the Americans more. I fear all we have done is awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve.” Those words were spoken by Admiral Yamamoto in World War II after the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor. Our new enemy, the Islamic terrorists, will now learn—as he did—the incredible truth of those words.

Our enemies believe that Americans care only for luxuries; that we are mostly corrupt and weak. That is why they attacked.

They fail to understand what Americans prize above all else. Freedom!

“What do you think is wrong about America?” Put that question to a hundred different Americans and you’ll get a hundred different answers and that’s what’s right about America! We’re free to criticize our government, our churches, our schools, and all of our social institutions. Americans always want to perfect America, make it a better place for everyone.

Most of our enemies who hate America so much would never dare to express disapproval of their own governments. It’s not allowed where they live, but we have a Constitution and a legal system that protects our freedom. We’re free to speak our minds and we’re free to travel too; to go where we please, when we please. We don’t have to ask permission or explain the purpose for our trips or carry identification cards.

We’re free to choose our own religion. Our services don’t have to be sanctioned and our sermons aren’t censored.

We’re free to choose any career we like, to keep our earnings, to pass our wealth on to our children, and to contribute to any charity we favor. We’re not coerced or compelled into approved occupations with the fruits of our labor withheld or confiscated.

We’re free to raise our children the way we see fit, with our own values. Our children are not wards of the state, spying on us and turning us in for ideological error. We’re free to protect our families and possessions. We’re not serfs or slaves dependent on masters to take care of us.

We are the most technologically advanced nation in the history of the world. The world watched and marveled as we went to the moon, not once, but many times. The world held its breath, then cheered, as we defied death to bring the stranded astronauts of Apollo 13 home. Only America could do that.

It’s no surprise that America can accomplish almost anything it attempts. Freedom has instilled in us the poise, skill and the character to accept danger and surmount it. Courage and the determination of free minds built America.

And we are the most generous nation on earth. We have been there for any nation with a hard-luck story. We have fed millions. We have repaired bridges and built dams. We have organized rescue missions and stood up for the oppressed.

The Middle East, where our enemies plot more attacks, knows first hand the generosity and compassion of America.

When the old Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan, butchering its people, it was America that provided the Afghanis with weapons and trained its freedom fighters. We even cancelled our participation in the Olympics to protest the death and destruction. Now the cowardly rulers of Afghanistan harbor our enemy while millions of their people wait in exile to return to their homeland.

When Saddam Hussein, the leading terrorist in the world, invaded the tiny nation of Kuwait, it was America that led the way to that Middle Eastern nation’s freedom. Yet, now, many in the Middle East cheer our pain and support our enemies.

It is said that we live in a new age; that words like “heroes” and “patriotism” are old fashioned. Some have said that America’s young people won’t stand up for America.

Have they seen the flags flying from homes, businesses, and car antennas? Have they seen the children wearing red, white and blue ribbons in their hair? Or a flag on their backpacks? Have they seen the resolve in their eyes? They’ll fight! They’ll fight because now they too understand that there are those who seek to destroy our way of life.

Freedom. That word should have a new meaning for all of us today. We can’t be concerned about our petty interests anymore. Today we are uniting in our common interest once again. This is the day when we unite in one voice. Now, in defiance of tyranny, we will tell our enemies that they may take some of our lives, but they will never take our freedom as a people, as a nation.

Two hundred years ago our Founding Fathers declared our independence from tyranny and today the sleeping giant of America wakens once again to lead the effort that will rid the world of the evil of modern terrorism. Today, a new generation has picked up the beacon of freedom ignited by our Founding Fathers.

Tom DeWeese
[email protected]

Tom DeWeese is President of the American Policy Center and National Grassroots Coordinator for CFACT (Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow) working to help local activists organize into Freedom Pods ( He is also the author of three books, including Now Tell Me I Was Wrong, ERASE, and Sustainable: the WAR on Free Enterprise, Private Property, and Individuals.