(Michael Seltzer is a regular contributor to PhilanTopic. In his last post, he wrote about the Cordoba House controversy.)
Nine years ago today, on a similarly gorgeous morning in the Northeast, almost three thousand individuals lost their lives in coordinated terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and the crash of United Airlines Flight 43 near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. The horror of 9/11 will never be forgotten by the tens of thousands of people who lost loved ones or the hundreds of millions around the world who watched or listened to the terrible events of that day unfold on television, radio, or the Internet.
Nine years later, as we honor the innocent victims of the attacks and the hundreds of brave men and women who sacrificed their lives to help others, let us also remember that the attacks were designed to strike at the core of what most sets America apart from every other nation in history: Its (sometimes fraught) embrace of pluralism, freedom of expression, and the right to worship in one's own fashion.
Nothing illustrates the unique nature of the American experiment better than the fact that individuals from 77 different countries lost their lives on September 11, 2001. Here's the list of countries, courtesy of the U.S. Department of State's Office of International Information Programs:
|Antigua & Barbuda||Ghana||Panama|
|Cambodia||Italy||St. Kitts & Nevis|
|Czech Republic||Luxembourg||Trinidad & Tobago|
|El Salvador||Nicaragua||United States|
On this, the ninth anniversary of 9/11, let us remember and honor all those who lost their lives, celebrate our differences, and stand together for peace, tolerance, and international understanding.
-- Michael Seltzer