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katiekerschnerEditor’s Note: On the anniversary of 9/11, we make good on our promise to “Never Forget.” But we also wish to remain eternally vigilant. We don’t want what happened on September 11, 2001, to ever again happen on our soil. And so, we offer you some thoughts on ISIS, the latest incarnation of evil to rear its ugly head. May the memory of those lost on 9/11 be eternal, and may we remain ever watchful against those who would perpetrate such horrors on us in the future.

Millions of people have been forced to flee their homes in order to avoid living under ISIS rule. Those who aren’t able to flee are captured. Islamic militants sort people like livestock. Men in one group, young women in another, and a third group with children and older women. I was told by a young woman who lived through this that, “they killed all the men, right in front of our eyes. We watched as they killed our fathers and brothers.” This is ISIS.

Women and girls, some as young as eight and nine, are held and used as sex slaves. They are bound, tortured, and raped — over and over and over again. They are sold or traded to different men. Treated as mere pieces of property. They are given as prizes for fighters, or for those who win Quran memorization contests. This is ISIS.

Children are crucified for breaking the Ramadan fast. Humanitarian aid workers are kidnapped, tortured, and killed. Journalists are beheaded. Pilots are burned alive. Mass executions take place for those who refuse to convert to Islam. This is ISIS.

For what purpose? What is the motivation? What is the driving force behind ISIS? The stated goal is to “create a broader Islamic caliphate.” Their goal is to create a ruling force in the world, an Islamic government lead by the leader of Islam.

In May 2015, ISIS took credit for an attack on U.S. soil. By doing this, they brought the fight to America. ISIS made it clear that this was not a one-time attack with the release of this statement:

“We say to the defenders of the cross, the U.S., that future attacks are going to be harsher and worse. The Islamic State soldiers will inflict harm on you with the grace of God. The future is just around the corner.”

This is ISIS.

But who are we?

We, the United States of America, are hated by ISIS. When we see the news clips of what is happening in Iraq and Syria, we tend to forget that the ultimate goal isn’t just to impose Islamic law in the Middle East. The goal is bigger than that. The same people who are daily committing war crimes in the Middle East want to destroy us and our great nation.

ISIS wants to destroy America because of our foundation as a Christian nation. Some might say that the solution is to no longer be a Christian nation — to forsake the foundation on which this nation was built, so that we are no longer known as “defenders of the cross.”

John Adams perfectly stated why that isn’t a valid option when he said, “The safety and prosperity of nations ultimately and essentially depend on the protection and the blessing of Almighty God, and the national acknowledgment of this truth is not only an indispensable duty which the people owe to Him …”

America has been blessed in the past, all because of our faith in God. Throughout the years we have served as a shining city on a hill, a beacon of hope to the world. We must renew that vision for America. A vision of faith and of freedom. We must again become a nation that acknowledges God, not just privately in our homes and churches, but publicly.

We must not allow the name of God Almighty to be used to further the ISIS agenda. We must fight against radical Islam. Everything ISIS stands for is contrary to what America stands for, and is contrary to the very nature of God. We must not stand by and allow radical Islam to gain traction — here or anywhere else around the world.

Late one night during my time in Iraq, I was talking with my five-year-old brother via video chat. He asked me a question. He said, “Katie, did you know that life is difficult?” I told him, “Yes, Josh, I know that life is difficult.”

This simple statement by a five-year-old is something that we should all remember. Life is difficult when you stand up for freedom. Life is difficult when you stand for truth and justice. Life is difficult when you stand up for the Biblical principles upon which this great nation was founded. Life is difficult when you stand up against radical Islam, taking a bold stand and showing the rest of the world that America will not stand by in this fight — saying that we will fight not only the physical battle, but also the battle for hearts and minds.

It may be difficult, but it is worth it. Let us not grow weary while doing good, brothers and sisters. Stand up for truth, and stand boldly for justice. Boldly stand and fight, so that this nation becomes, once again, that shining city on a hill and a beacon of hope for the rest of the world. This is the United States of America. “We the people” must stand boldly for our values. If we don’t, we will lose the freedoms that make this country great. It’s already happening; don’t allow it to continue.

Katie Kerschner serves as a Young Women for America president in Lancaster, California.