I understand the instinct: the need to connect, to empathize, to be a part of an experience. It's why we call them "shared experiences"; why we call them "national tragedies." In the nitty-gritty though, they are not. They are not shared and they are not national -- they are so very deeply personal.
Today went down as terrible, but one strange face in the world became one face I will trust not to plan my destruction. Seven billion people are a lot to get to know. Maybe that's the only way.
Last week, Col. James Pohl, the military judge presiding over the trial of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and the five other men accused of plotting the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, quietly issued a ruling ensuring the public won't learn any information about the men's torture at the hands of the U.S.
On this September 11, I am sitting in the third floor of Tartu's central public library. I see the passing streams of cars. Beyond the rows of tall oak, standing like palace guards at attention, marking the entrance to a parkway lining the western bank of the Emajõe River.
We are letting freedom and opportunity -- a promise this nation was built on -- be threatened. Our education system is failing and our teachers are striking because they feel undervalued.
Drawing the roller sponge mop from soapy water, I placed it on the pavement, feeling both frightened and foolish. It was at that precise moment that the words "HEAL US" rang unquestionably in my mind.
Two life-changing events have proven the strength of my desire to serve and involve my peers in service as well.
Many of those who have served on behalf of our nation will need our help as they transition home to our communities. The mental health providers who work with service members and veterans across the country every day hear it firsthand.
We remember how far we've come to have the ordinary join this date again. And we bear witness largely by living intentional lives, created anew from the rubble.
9/11 is a day I will never forget where I was and what I was doing. It's burned into my memory and often replays at the oddest moments. In my mind, I always wonder what I would have done.
Human beings have great difficulty accepting and dwelling in such existential vulnerability. We fall into what the philosopher Martin Heidegger called idle talk.
Each and every one of us knows loss. We have experienced the death of a loved one. But how many of us have experienced the shocking, unspeakable trauma of war? Of terrorism? I have not.
As Americans, we seem most highly evolved at thinking of ways to screw each other over. That includes denying the chronically ill volunteers who went down to Ground Zero the day after 9/11 not only compensation for illness, but refusing to acknowledge some were even there.
Over the course of days, we tuned in -- glued to the television -- trying to cope with and understand the how, why, and who's of this tragic attack.
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When the time comes to pull together, no other nation does it better than the citizens of the United States of America.
The Sept. 11 attacks had forced me to become much more cognizant of the world around me and motivated me to pursue the interfaith, civic, and community service activities I'm involved in today.
Until we see the evil in capitalism infected by corporate greed and economic inscription we will continue to kill and be killed and sow nothing but violence for our children. Live by the sword, die by it.
On this 11th anniversary of 9/11, it's a good day for us to look back and assess the damage. As a Christian, I've certainly seen it and felt it in the Christian community.
Imperfect anniversaries provide the seeds for subsequent improvement. Maybe one way to commemorate 9/11/01 is not through remembering how we have felt, but summarizing what we have learned.