For us, 9/11 is Barbara Olson day. Barbara was murdered on the plane that plowed into the Pentagon. The circumstances were so dramatic that even today it is hard to believe it all. She was scheduled to return to California for a project having to do with wine, and delayed so that she could be with her husband Ted, the Solicitor General of the United States, on his birthday. On board, she quickly realized what was going on, and somehow got Ted on the phone. She was determined to find some way to fight back — anyone who dares to think of Barbara as a victim has no clue — and she knew that Ted would know the whole situation. Which he did. And so they spoke, exchanging tears and love and schemes and anger.
At her memorial service, Judge Bork commented that, while the rest of us were doomed to age, Barbara would be forever young, and so she is. Young and gorgeous and feisty and patriotic and tough. She would be furious at the cowardice and contempt for America embodied in so many of our current policies, and she would be relentlessly exposing them on television and in books. She was very worried that Hillary would win the White House, and wrote two excellent books about the Clintons. By now we would undoubtedly have more: the Obamas are a very rich lode to mine.
The winery that produced her favorite Cabernet dedicated the next vintage to her, and we still have a few bottles left, with a black ribbon and her picture. Today, as every 9/11, we drank in her honor and remembered her.
The main thing about Barbara was shown in her final minutes. She never stopped fighting, never gave in, always kept looking for ways to win. That is her legacy, and it’s up to us to be worthy of her. I never had time for whiners or quitters, and I often remember with great satisfaction how she eviscerated the apologists for evil with whom she fought on CNN.
And so we have arrived at the eleventh Barbara Olson Day, still hoping that we will find leaders up to her and our challenge and worthy of our respect. And yes, of our love.