Where are we now?

Where is the United States one year after the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington? On September 11, 2002, observances throughout the country will pay sober and heartfelt homage to the thousands who died in attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon and to the passengers who prevented a fourth attack by crashing their plane into the Pennsylvania countryside. Here in New York, the tenor of September 11, 2001, and the weeks that followed were marked by an "unusual tenderness that enveloped the city" (see John Garvey’s column, page 7). First-anniversary commemorations in churches, synagogues, mosques, and temples will try to evoke that tenderness and somber spirit, their very locations reminding us that at the World Trade Center death came to citizens not only of New York, but of the whole country and of many nations-of every religious tradition and none. The considerable achievement of this country in becoming a home to all peoples and beliefs is mirrored in those deaths, but refracted in what has followed. The war on terrorism has engulfed our country and its relations with the rest of the world.

The unwarranted and unjustified deaths of thousands of people by terrorists bent on doing what they could to destroy the United States required an emphatic and immediate response. It came in the American-led attack on Afghanistan and the overthrow of the Taliban, who harbored Osama bin Laden and his Al...

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