Patriots Day etches Sept. 11 in history
Eleven months ago, the landscape of the American dream changed radically when terrorists drove a pair of jetliners into New York's World Trade Center.
The attacks of Sept. 11 generated an unprecedented season of public soul-searching, military and diplomatic responses, and efforts to reform public policy.
In the early months after the attacks, the two houses of Congress between them approved 19 resolutions and enacted 19 laws.
One of those laws proclaims Sept. 11 as Patriots Day, a new holiday we are about to commemorate for the first time.
The attacks and the responses to them – both domestic and international – have raised a host of questions about social organization, basic social institutions, how people mobilize amid crises, and how differences of culture and politics shape conflict and cooperation.
We have had experience in this kind of thing before.
The fall of the Berlin Wall was a symbolic event that raised hopes for a more united world, founded on the values of international legality and democracy.
Yet the demise of communism as a global force wasn't the panacea of peace and unity some may have expected. Before long, this nation and the world slid seamlessly back into its comfortable patterns of conflict, resolution and planning for an always uncertain future.
A relatively calm decade later, during which time a surge in technology spurred an economic boom that chased away most thoughts of fear and crisis, the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon threw our joint mindset back, first into rage and patriotism, then into the standard patterns of blame (who knew what and when) and denial, in which we as a people once again become individualists, looking out for ourselves.
On Patriots Day, how will we view Sept. 11, 2001, and the short year that has since passed? What has changed, and what remains the same?
The Daily Courier is in the process of compiling our readers' experiences, reactions and impressions of Sept. 11 for a special presentation on Patriots Day. Anyone who cares to contribute may do so by calling 445-8179, ext. 1149, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org