Today marks the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.  It was one of those terrible “where were you?” moments those who remember Pearl Harbor or the Kennedy assassination can empathize with.  We share our stories when the opportunity arises.  We still remember those who’ve given their lives in the War on Terror, especially those whose lives were taken away in the opening salvo of that war.  May their families and friends find peace and meaning in their loved one’s sacrifice.

9/11 changed our nation:  our political trajectory, our feelings about ourselves and our place in the world, the meaning of freedom, who our real friends around the world are, and how we deal with loss.

Unfortunately, not all the change was good — in the decade since 9/11 our politics has gotten more rank, American confidence is hovering around 1970s misery index levels, freedom in America has tangibly eroded over the last decade, we have fewer and fewer friends around the world, and the time it took us to begin rebuilding Ground Zero is something future generations will not treat kindly.

Yet, for many the spirit of America was rekindled after 9/11 and that spirit remains:  military recruitment is still solid, a volunteer and philanthropic spirit still permeates the nation when hard times hit, flags are still conspicuous on days other than the 4th, New York is still a great city, and so on.  Stories of United 93 make us swell with pride and determination.  Osama Bin Laden, Saddam Hussein, and Yasser Arafat may now be spoken of in the past tense.  Al Qaeda as it was ten years ago no longer exists; so many having been killed, captured, or disrupted.  The jury is still out on Mideast democracy movements, but it is likely a step in the right direction.

However, today we reflect on the nearly 3,000 people killed ten years ago in New York, the Pentagon, and in the field outside Shanksville, PA.  They are a part of history now and will never be forgotten.

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