Ten Years Later

In what is sadly a rare show of national solidarity, former President George W. Bush will join President Barack Obama at “Ground Zero” in lower Manhattan on September 11 to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the United States.

The names of the thousands who perished that day in the World Trade Center towers, the Pentagon, and on the hijacked plane that crashed in Pennsylvania will be read aloud, their lives hallowed by prayers, poems, tributes, and other solemn public gestures. The nation will be reminded, if only for a few hours, that the preservation of democracy requires real sacrifices and the willing embrace of duties, not just the pursuit of private interests and freedoms. Each one of us is part of a whole before we are individual agents, a whole that extends beyond our brief lifetimes to those who came before and those who will come after us.

The political freedoms we cherish as individuals can only be found in community, in our common life together. Public rituals like the commemoration of 9/11 give powerful symbolic expression to that fact. “The end of a democracy is political freedom, embodied in the form of equal citizenship, ruling and being ruled in a shared responsibility for the common good,” wrote the late political philosopher Wilson Carey McWilliams. Democracy doesn’t work if the dialectic of ruling and being ruled is treated, as it increasingly seems to be, as a zero-sum game. Majorities and minorities alike, McWilliams insisted, must “prefer the public good to their partisan interests.” Long a contributor to this magazine, McWilliams warned that freedom is merely an illusion if it is divorced from civic participation and a true understanding of what is right and just. America’s political system, which places such a high value on individual liberty, is in desperate need of ways to cultivate the moral habits of citizenship that came to the fore so dramatically on 9/11. Without them, McWilliams observed, liberty destroys itself.

The idea that each of us has a responsibility, not just to ourselves but to the larger community, does not find much resonance today in our politics, our economic lives, our culture, or even in family life. Perhaps that is one of the reasons the commemoration of 9/11 touches us so deeply. In the confusing aftermath of that terrible day, Americans of every disposition and ideological conviction came together, eager to serve in some capacity. The nation was humbled by the heroism of New York City firefighters and police officers who rushed into the towers, sacrificing their own lives to save strangers. In the days after the attack, countless service professionals as well as volunteers shouldered the responsibility, and the honor, of caring for the injured and consoling the bereaved. Of course, there was also fear and bewilderment, but those very human responses to such a tragedy revealed once again our dependence on one another. When disaster strikes, we instinctively look to the larger community for protection and comfort.  

The decade since 9/11 has often been a rebuke to the sense of national solidarity palpable in that moment of terror and resolve. First there was panic, and then dissimulation, from our national leaders. A decade of war abroad and disillusion and cynicism at home followed. Americans were not asked to share equally in the burdens and sacrifices of those wars; we were not even asked to pay for them. Worse, the plight of innocents killed or displaced by our military interventions was rarely the subject of public concern. Even the torture of prisoners was widely condoned. When economic calamity struck in 2008, the much-vaunted era of economic globalization was shown to be a house of cards, propped up by the crudest financial speculation. As the nation enters another presidential election year, our politics seem more bitterly divided than at any time since the 1960s. President Obama has repeatedly urged compromise and conciliation, only to be more vigorously assailed by his Republican opponents or criticized for a lack of conviction by those within his own party. And as the tenth anniversary of 9/11 approaches, the nation’s economy appears to have stalled, threatening to deprive even more millions of their homes and their jobs.

Words alone will not heal the nation’s divisions or reverse the damage done by the spectacle of political extremism and paralysis in Washington. Words are needed, however, to expose the fallacies behind the idea that it is somehow un-American to sacrifice private advantage for the public good. The nation’s response to 9/11 showed how false that cynical claim has always been. In commemorating that day, the demands and obligations of citizenship, not only its freedoms, should be welcomed by all.

August 23, 2011

Related: September 11, 2001, by the Editors
Breathing Peace, by Patrick J. Ryan
Move On, By E. J. Dionne Jr.



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All cross the world we were stuned but this day, but there wa a big why ? After 10 Years there is tsill a why ? then about 90 days ago I found out why and at fist I thought this was in error,

By Henry Massingale

August 13, 2011

To Strategically Rebuild America. Why we built a Anti Crime / Anti War Forum with a Health Care Concepts.

I am only human and I can not see into all of the issues, but what I do see, I have found that if I allow a person to read and make up their own minds that what I write holds a moral value of truth, then they add there heart to it, in disagreement or their concepts of what if, but what is most important is a balance is formed.

 WAR-We as a people world wide are against War, some say a unnecessary evil. But still we have War. This issue with the Afghan War, The year is in the 1970's United States help Bin Laden in Afghan to defeat Russia, and by the 80's the War ended. Around 1989 not long after, Bin orders the first strike against the World Trade -Twin Towers then 9/11. Now we are at War in Afghan, the Taliban has portrayed all American's as a aggressive specise with a foot hold on their territory. But to see photos of American Military Personal Shoot protecting Poppy Plants. I am sorry but this is true. A War fought to control a Heroin Empire.

2nd; between Canada and the USA, 1.2 million people died from Oxy Heroin. June 30, 2011, C-Span-3 on TV, the Capital Hill, Director Senator Sheldon, Senate Judiciary Sub Committee for Crime and Terrorism. Announcement Oxy. Heroin, this Heroin Health Care Concept, in 2007 that 27,000 Americans died, from this Opioid. So if this Opioid Heroin is o good or our economy ,where is the money ?

Then I asked a I need to know and this is now changing how people look at this War, What if Bin Laden did not act like a terrorist / Drug Dealer, and filed a Law Suite against Government Officials for violating a Drug Deal ?




Aug 2, 2009 – 3 Soldiers Die to Protect Poppy Fields ... In these attacks, more of their own people are killed, than that of the enemy, every time. ... A U.S. military spokeswoman in Afghanistan said no other details about the blasts would be ...

Welcome to the International Boycott Of The Arabic Drug Empire Phase 4


3 Soldiers Die to Protect Poppy Fields :: Real Oath Keepers

"The political freedoms we cherish as individuals can only be found in community, in our common life together. Public rituals like the commemoration of 9/11 give powerful symbolic expression to that fact." Huh? These public rituals are often merely ceremonies that celebrate mindless patriotism and militarism, conferring a quasi-religious status on an idea of national power. The pious jingoist blather we're going hear in 9/11  rituals will validate the same sort of fervor that drove  us to the senseless wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. I'm surprised that a Catholic publication isn't more sensitive to the sins that result from worshiping the false god of nation. True, political freedoms are only found in community, but when the community fetishizes the nation those freedoms are in danger.  True "community" in a democracy is constant informed and critical discussion and debate of the res publica of the nation, not rituals that reinforce the patriotic dogmas that stifle discussion and debate.

AMEN, dear Bob Shildgen!

The central question is--Why have the bishops and the three main Catholic magazines been faithful supporters of the War Party..by the endless silence and the distorting words??



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Ten years have gone sadly by.

Yet still I hear the steel beams cry.

Visions of 757’s still infect my brain

Glass shards falling like glistening rain


It seems many have forgotten that hateful day

When they stood by tv’s starting to pray

But I will never forget and I don’t want to

I’ll always remember the innocents they slew


When I begin to weaken I remember those who can’t

Those who died because of the mad mans rant

I won’t forget how they cheered in Palestine

The day you lost yours and I lost mine.


I won’t forget the sadness in my head

As they brought out the torn, wounded, and dead

I’ll remember the heroes yes every one

Who did not rest till their task was done.


Oh no we will never waiver

Until the victory we savor

Oh no we will never tire

Until we snatch victory from the fire.


Keep walking tall, we will not falter

Fit the war horse to his halter

Let the heathen rant and let him rail

Keep walking tall. We will not fail!

Darn.  You were doing fine until the penultimate paragraph, when you had to make a partisan dig at your opponents, violating the principle you'd been defending up to then.  Why?

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