The bow of the USS New York was made with 7.5 tons of steel from the World Trade Center.
And that wreckage forged into pride was never more significant than when the Delta Force commandos brought their captive aboard the warship off the coast of Libya on Monday.
Ahmed Abu Khattala had been charged in a secret criminal complaint with directing the attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi on Sept. 11, 2012.
Khattala is alleged to have been seeking his own sinister kind of significance when he mounted the assault on the 11th anniversary of 9/11, killing our ambassador and three other Americans.
The people who seemed to forget the meaning of the date were the folks who failed to provide the Benghazi facility with adequate security on the day that the bad guys always remember.
A team of FBI interrogators will now be seeking to determine what Khattala might know about possible future attacks and current fellow jihadis.
Thanks to the ship, the agents will have considerably more time than would normally be allowed. The rules require that a prisoner be brought before a magistrate and accorded a lawyer ”without unnecessary delay,” generally within 48 hours after an arrest.
But bringing Khattala back by sea rather than by air will necessarily require several days.
Even a high-tech, 684-foot transport can only go so fast.
Back in 2008 when the USS New York was christened, Deputy Secretary of State Gordon England spoke of the evil ones who made September 11 a date that we must all remember for reasons that go far beyond sentiment.
“I’ve concluded that they killed 3,000 because they did not know how to kill 30,000, 300,000, or 3 million, but they would have if they could have,” England said. “And they are still trying.”
He added, “This is not a war of our choosing. This is not a war we can ignore. This is not a war that will end if we walk away from the battlefield.”
Recent proof of that includes the man being questioned aboard the USS New York as it steams toward the American shore and the judicial system where he will be tried not as an enemy combatant, but as a criminal.
That is exactly how we should have handled the 9/11 plotters, how we should handle all such murderers.
To treat these lovers of violent death otherwise is only to glorify them.
And any glory in this struggle should belong solely to courageous souls such as those who risked all to save others at the World Trade Center.
Them, and the equally courageous men and women who continue to rush into harm’s way, extraordinary Americans such as the Delta Force commandos and the FBI agent who are now headed home with their captive.
All the while, that World Trade Center steel in the bow will be slicing through the water, leading the way.