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The Telegram
  • Editorial: Eleven years after 9/11

  • For those who witnessed it, Sept. 11, 2001, may never be a distant memory. It remains as fresh as Pearl Harbor was for a different generation of Americans, the images of it perhaps seared even more vividly into our brains because of the round-the-clock television coverage that didn't exist in 1941.

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  • For those who witnessed it, Sept. 11, 2001, may never be a distant memory. It remains as fresh as Pearl Harbor was for a different generation of Americans, the images of it perhaps seared even more vividly into our brains because of the round-the-clock television coverage that didn't exist in 1941.
    To say it's easier to take on this, the 11th anniversary of the worst attack by foreign hands on U.S. soil, well, that largely depends on how personal your stake was in the tragic events of that day. If you lost a loved one, the pain may numb by degrees over time - it becomes acceptance, one supposes - but it never quite goes away. And yet life also has gone on even for many of 9/11's far more direct victims because, after all, what other choice is there?
    That's not to say 9/11 wasn't a hinge in the history of this nation, as its ripple effects continue to be felt now a dozen years into a century that at the turn of it, seemed a lot more promising.
    All of us took an economic hit. If you're not better off financially today than you were 11 years ago - forget four years ago - you're not alone. We'll be paying for the two major wars that erupted out of 9/11 and the borrowing that financed them for a long time, though some - our soldiers and their families - sacrificed far more than others. Any time any of us boards an airplane and negotiates the security gantlet to get there, we remember 9/11. We've rebuilt at ground zero, though the squabbling continues over the memorial and museum there, specifically over who should pay for them, and how.
    Are we safer? Well, it seems like it, though no one can be faulted for seeking the nearest piece of wood to knock on. The evil behind 9/11, Osama bin Laden, is dead. The architect of the attack, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, sits in U.S. custody at Guantanamo Bay. Al-Qaida has been neutralized if not quite neutered. On Monday, the No. 2 al-Qaida leader in Yemen, Saeed al-Shihri, was reportedly killed by a U.S. drone-fired missile. In fact, those who intended and/or inflicted harm on us 11 years ago have gotten by far the worst of it in the long term, not that it may matter to those for whom martyrdom is high honor. Still, we're more secure because we're less naive and more guarded than we were then.
    At some point most will stop marking this occasion. Ultimately, the best revenge is recovery, and we're getting there, though few could have imagined it would take this long. On this 11th anniversary, it could be worse, it could be better in America, but having taken the best punch of those who hate us so, we're still standing, confident that we can give every bit as good as we get, and then some. As we humbly recall the tragedy and tears of 11 years ago, let us remember that, as well.
    Page 2 of 2 - Journal Star of Peoria, Ill.
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