Americans unite in anger, sorrow

Posted: Thursday, September 13, 2001

From The Washington Post:

The horrific terrorist attacks ... in New York and Washington will rank as one of the greatest calamities in American history, and will confront the United States with one of its most demanding challenges. Not since Dec. 7, 1941, has the U.S. homeland sustained such an aggression. The nation responded then without panic but with iron determination to defend itself and punish the aggressors. The response today must be as decisive -- to the mass murderers who planned and carried out the attack, and to any nation or nations that gave them shelter and encouragement.

From The Los Angeles Times:

Nationwide, people swarm blood banks, eager to have their own blood flow into the veins of those wounded by an unknown enemy. Let that enemy note that this nation of many peoples is often at odds within itself but under pressure is united; a blow against one is a blow against all.

For a generation of young people, this is their Pearl Harbor; their Kennedy assassination.

As we garner strength by joining together in rage and sorrow, the world will see that the great experiment -- e pluribus unum -- continues. One way it will continue will be for Americans to refrain from blaming groups for the evil acts of individuals. There must be no fingerpointing based on ethnicity or religion. If Americans turn on each other, those behind the heinous acts will be the winners.

Never again can this nation be quite so secure. Tuesday was a day that changed America.

From The Philadelphia Inquirer:

We feel rage. We feel fear. We are bewildered. We can't avoid acting on those feelings. Yet we must calibrate our response against the ideals of liberty and tolerance that have made this nation work so well for so long. ... (T)he thirst for vengeance burns like white fire, more than on any dawn since Pearl Harbor. But in December 1941, at least, the enemy was known, the options of war evident. Today, all we know is that America is hated by an enemy who is shadowy, resourceful and fond of grand, bloody symbolism. ... The question is: Will we hate back?

From The Daily Oklahoman of Oklahoma City:

Time and life go on, but the calendar page for Sept. 11, 2001, can't be torn from our memories. Now that we know it can happen here, the whole nation grieves its loss of security.

This is what has been shattered: Our sense of immunity from cataclysmic evil.

Some will blame God for Tuesday's events. How could He not protect us from such evil? ...

This is a time for the nation to draw closer to God, a time to pray for the peace of New York City and Washington -- as well as the peace of Oklahoma City and Jerusalem and all the places where terrorism has struck fear into the hearts of good people.

(The editorial was adapted from one published April 21, 1995, two days after the Murrah Building bombing.)

From The Cincinnati Enquirer:

Nothing like this has ever happened to our nation before. Pearl Harbor comes close. But in magnitude, the attacks today eclipse even the bombs dropped on our fleet on that historic Day of Infamy in 1941.

There were no enemy markings on the planes that crashed into the World Trade Center towers and the Pentagon. They were our own commercial airliners, apparently loaded with innocent Americans, hijacked and used as horrific weapons against other innocent Americans.

Make no mistake. This is war.

From the Buffalo News:

Unless the aggressors choose to claim credit, finding out exactly who and why may be difficult. But that task is essential. A moral country cannot strike back blindly but it must, in the end, strike back, with all the precision it can manage and all the power that is needed ...

But a just retribution may not -- at least for a civilized country -- involve an equal measure of death and destruction. That may be one of the most painful legacies of the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York, the Pentagon in Washington and the passengers of the airliners that were put to murderous use. If a relatively few men carried out Tuesday's attacks, and if they represented no identifiable country, how do you weigh the unimaginable magnitude of attacks that perhaps cost thousands of lives without giving in to the unthinkable, and launching a counterattack that is equally pitiless, correspondingly depraved?

Grand Forks Herald (North Dakota):

There are no Democrats today. There are no Republicans.

There are no liberals or conservatives, Easterners or Westerners, blacks or whites, old or young. There are only Americans. And we're a United States once again ...

Today, we're united in mourning. No Midwesterner is griping good-naturedly about New Yorkers' ''smugness'' or Washingtonians' ''arrogance'' today. Instead, the response here is summed up by the lines that started forming at local blood banks in the hours after the disaster.

Those weren't strangers who were crying out from the rubble, the blood donors knew. They were family -- and families go through crises together.

Tomorrow, we'll be united in determination. We Americans may quarrel bitterly over the best uses of our freedom. But when that freedom comes under attack, we respond as one.

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