What I hope we don’t see, when the next race or a parade or festival looms up in front of us, are layers of extra stops and searches and checkpoints, wider and wider rings of closed streets, the kind of portable metal detectors that journalists remember unfondly from political conventions, more of the concrete barriers that Washingtonians have become accustomed to around our public buildings … more of everything that organized officialdom does to reassure us, and itself, that soft targets can somehow be eliminated entirely, and that everything anyone can think of is being done to keep the unthinkable at bay.
It's been said there are two kinds of suffering: one kind leads to more suffering, the other kind puts an end to it. The attacks of 9/11 were an instance of the first kind of suffering, for they quickly led to more suffering. They led, specifically, to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, in which hundreds of thousands of soldiers and civilians have been killed, including over 5,500 U.S.
Of the texts appointed for Sunday, the tenth anniversary of
what we now simply call 9/11, the Old Testament reading seems most capable of
responding to the range of emotions we may feel as we remember the atrocities
of that day.
In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, Americans were unified. We had all been attacked, and we knew what we were defending. References to Pearl Harbor sprang readily to mind. This was our moment to stand up and stand together.