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9/11: Lest We Forget

September 11, 2010

(Michael Seltzer is a regular contributor to PhilanTopic. In his last post, he wrote about the Cordoba House controversy.)

9-11_memorial 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
Argentina Greece Peru
Australia Guatemala Philippines
Austria Guyana Poland
Bahamas Haiti Portugal
Bangladesh Honduras Romania
Barbados Hong Kong Russia
Belgium India Slovakia
Belarus Indonesia South Africa
Belize Iran South Korea
Bolivia Ireland Spain
Brazil Israel Sri Lanka
Cambodia Italy St. Kitts & Nevis
Canada Jamaica St. Lucia
Chile Japan Sweden
China Jordan Switzerland
Colombia Kenya Taiwan
Costa Rica Lebanon Thailand
Czech Republic Luxembourg Trinidad & Tobago
Dominica Malaysia Turkey
Dominican Republic Mexico Ukraine
Ecuador Netherlands United Kingdom
Egypt New Zealand Uruguay
El Salvador Nicaragua United States
France Norway Uzbekistan
Germany Pakistan Zimbabwe

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

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Posted by Samir Selmanovic  |   September 13, 2010 at 08:18 AM

On 9/11 the world was hurt, nobody was excluded from being a target. That's why I believe nobody should be excluded from the sacristy of grieving and hope in lower Manhattan. Why ad injustice to the wound?

Thank you Michale for reminding us about the sheer diversity of people who lost their lives.

Samir Selmanovic

Posted by Michael Seltzer  |   September 14, 2010 at 05:53 PM

Thank you, Samir, for your posting. I was stunned this past week that no reporter to the best of my knowledge (Yes, I am a news hound) reported on the diverse nationalities of those who lost their lives on 9/11. I was pleased to see that a New York Times reporter last week 'discovered' the fact that the World Trade Center hosted a room of worship for Muslims who worked in the towers. So the 'hallowed ground' was already a place of worship for those of the Muslim faith before 9/11. Hmm

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