As I stood in line at Orlando International Airport, a little girl did not want to go through airport security. She was desperately clinging to her grandmother.
I had already been pondering, as I *always* do, the enormous investment the nation has made in these checkpoints, going on 12 years now, in response to the actions of 19 men. 19 persons. These lines are here forever now, just one more cost of the fall, one more insult to our usual illusion of normalcy.
I'm not inconvenienced by the searches or the scanners, or worried about my personal liberties, though half stripping in public is embarrassing (we men have to take our belts off). At least the posture in those full-body cylinders reminds me that, at a very real level, this ought to be my more constant pose: found wanting, presumed guilty, and in need of throwing up my hands in surrender.
Still, I marvel at the sheer amount of money we must spend for all of this equipment and personnel, hoping this all somehow makes us safe. I'm skeptical.
Editor's Note: The following is the text of President Obama's Proclamation on Patriot Day and National Day of Service and Remembrance on the 11th anniversary of the attacks of Sept. 11.
On September 11, 2001, a bright autumn day was darkened by the worst attack on the American people in our history. Thousands of innocent men, women, and children perished when mighty towers collapsed in the heart of New York City and wreckage burned in Pennsylvania and at the Pentagon. They were family and friends, service members and first responders -- and the tragedy of their loss left pain that will never fade and scars our country will never forget.
A lawsuit that was filed by the group American Atheists to keep a revered cross out of the National September 11 Museum is being challenged by a conservative law firm that defends the public display of religious symbols.
The American Center for Law and Justice filed a friend-of-the-court brief on Monday on behalf of the suit’s two defendants, the National September 11 Memorial & Museum Foundation and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which owns the site.
“The legal arguments of the atheist organization are both offensive and absurd,” the center’s chief counsel, Jay Sekulow, said in a statement. He said 190,000 people had signed a petition opposing the lawsuit.
On the morning of September 11, 2001, I was standing in the bathroom of my apartment outside Chicago, about to hop in the shower, when I heard the phone ring and then my husband call my name.
"It's Roger from the desk," he called, sleepily, invoking the name of the morning assignment editor at the Chicago Sun-Times where I was a reporter at the time.
I padded down the hallway in my pajamas to the living room and picked up the phone.
"How quickly can you get down here," Roger asked.
"I dunno, an hour, maybe," I said. "Why? What's up?"
"A plane hit the World Trade Center in New York," he said. "They think it's a terrorist attack."
Seven years ago this morning, airplanes were flown into the World Trade Center Towers, the Pentagon, and a field in rural Pennsylvania. The next day I joined with a few others to draft the following statement. In a few weeks, more than 4,000 of America's religious leaders of all faiths had signed it and it was printed as an ad in The New York Times.
Seven years later, as we remember that day, it is appropriate to reflect on this statement and to wonder how the [...]
All of us remember this day, where we were when we heard the news, our feelings, our fears. There has been a lot of controversy about how the memory of this day has been or is being used or misused for political purposes, but I always come back to one of my life mottoes: the best antidote to misuse is not disuse -- it is proper use.
In many ways we have run from the feelings of that day ... grief, grievance, unity, confusion, dislocation, vulnerability and solidarity. In [...]