Monday, September 11, 2006

Five Years Later

I remember the lonely feeling in my office in Philadelphia five years ago; everyone else had left early. Because trains and buses were shut down most of the day, I wasn’t sure when I would be able to get home to Wilmington. Phones were jammed, so I had a hard time connecting with my then wife, who had gone to a friend’s house.
September 11, 2001 was the one day in our national life when we experienced war on our soil. I eventually got home that day, but learned a little about living with the disruptions of that many less fortunate people endure ever day.
Today, our stature around the world has been diminished. Our president's misadventure in Iraq has weakened us militarily and eroded our influence. Our adversaries have been emboldened, as we have become caught in the middle of a sectarian civil war that has little to do with our national interest. As for the man who led the attacks against us five year ago, we literally don’t have a clue where he is.
At home, our president, who once proclaimed himself “a uniter, not a divider,” has led us into a grim political war of attrition in which his critics are blamed for our country’s lost influence abroad.
We can find comfort in remembering other dark hours in our history. My parent's generation can take justifiable pride in what the United States accomplished in the five years following Pearl Harbor. But five years after 9/11, I find little cause for comfort or satisfaction.

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