9/11 nine years on

Today is the ninth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Nine years on, it’s still an unforgettable day for me, partly because at the time we lived in Connecticut, 80 miles from Manhattan, and felt keenly connected to everything that was going on.

We knew people who lost loved ones and friends. We struggled with the reality that another human being could hatch and then carry out a plan so evil and grandiose that it could snuff out 3,000 lives in a matter of hours on one September morning. We also lived with the terror of never quite knowing if another attack was about to happen. In one sense those attacks came, with the anthrax scare that killed five Americans, including a 94-year-old woman who lived 10 miles from us in Connecticut. I’ve written elsewhere about the terror of that time.

The ninth anniversary of the attacks comes as the images and pain of that day are employed in a national debate over who we are as a nation, a debate that tests how comfortable we are with religious diversity. The way I see it, the 9/11 terrorist attacks should not be divisive, but unifying, as a reminder that the perpetrators of that terrible crime do not represent any one religion, or any one nationality, or any one group. What they represent is the human capacity for evil.  They are the outliers, the fringe. Most people, whether Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist, atheist, agnostic or any number of local religions around the globe, do not condone such heinous behavior but unequivocally reject it. In that they are unified.

Let us remember that today, on the ninth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

I’ll shut up now and let U2 and the Boss do the rest of speaking for me.


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