HNN Poll: Did It Change Us?

News at Home

Charles Krauthammer, writing in the Weekly Standard, argues that 9-11 did not change us. (Excerpt below.) Do you agree?

Please take a moment to answer our poll question. Then--and this is more important--join in the discussion below. We want your views as well as your vote. Just click here to post a comment.

Charles Krauthammer, in the Weekly Standard:

WE DIDN'T CHANGE after all. Things changed, yes. Flags waved. A president emerged. The economy slid. The enemy scattered. Politics cooled. The allies rallied. The allies chafed. Politics returned.

But we didn't change. We thought we would. After the shock of the bolt from the blue, it was said that we would never be the same. That it was the end of irony. That the pose of knowing detachment with which we went to bed September 10 was gone for good.

Not so. Before the first year was out, it was back, all of it. Irony. Triviality. Vulgarity. Frivolousness. Whimsy. Farce. All the things no healthy society can live without.

We returned to normality. No, not the"new normality," that state of suspended apprehension that followed the first weeks of shock and fear. The new normality dissipated into the ether with amazing speed. During its brief few months of existence, it seemed reasonable to deputize the postman and the milkman and the cable guy to snoop around your house looking for suspicious characters. Today that TIPS program seems slightly loony, as it should to true normality.

True normality. Can you doubt it is back when the culture king of 2002 is Ozzy Osbourne, now locked with Anna Nicole Smith in a race to the cultural bottom? It's all back: reality TV, Geraldo on the scene,"Sex and the City," and every sequel known to man:"Austin Powers,""Stuart Little,""Men in Black," and Yoda, flying no less.

comments powered by Disqus

More Comments:

Sarah Russell - 11/14/2002

I am an historian so I have to say that we won't know whether 9/11 really changed us until we get the long view; is this a "blip" or spike on the screen or is it the beginning of something new in our lives?
still waiting to find out.

Tom Holland - 9/12/2002

I'm not sure if its a decisive change, but it provides a point in time that can't be ignored for the rest of the country to realize what military people are constantly aware of - that there are people and organizations in the world that desire to destroy our way of life, our principles, and our lives and have no desire to engage in rational discussion or compromise - they only understand and respect force. Similar to the two color map of the USA during the last election, it provides a point in time to establish a split between those who favor one viewpoint on the world, and want to avoid conflict to the point of virtual surrender; and those who recognize a threat and have the courage and resolve to call it what it is, face it, and act, even if its not what they really would rather be doing. As an x-USAF Nuclear Weapons specialist, I am amazed at the spineless retoric of some our political figures (that have access to the facts) - they seem to want to have a nuclear catastrophe before they can decide to act. They are playing politics with our national security.

jorge munoz - 9/12/2002

Just image that after the attacks, massive killings and people dissapeared, Osama Bin Laden would had taken power in the United States and stay there for almost thirty years. Something like that happened in Chile in 1973 a day like this. Sorry to recall this twin event in this memorable day but we can not forget the role of the US in that event.

Clint Rodreick - 9/11/2002

Did Americans change after September 11th? In a way, Yes. The first few weeks Americans turned to the only thing that they could find happiness in: Jesus Christ. But after the months of terror pasted, and our secular society was restored, Americans got caught up once again with themselves. So No. Sept. 11 didnt change us. Cause only one thing can: Jesus Christ. He is after all the reason we live in the country we do. He was the inspiration of our founding fathers and was as they put it "the reason we won the Revolution." But dont get me wrong, this act or any other isnt got punishing us. Its us punishing ourselves. What must we do then? Come back to the Lord for he is the foundation of this country.

Richard Schellhammer - 9/11/2002

One year later, we are back to our typical patterns of behavior. The two dominant political parties are back to squabling with one another, trying to score little points at the other's expense without actually governing. We are no longer "Americans" as we were on 12 September 2001, we're divided in meaningless, hyphenated ways. And finally, and most importantly, we are not active citizens protecting and charishing the freedoms that the terrorists sought to damage most (just look at the abysmal voter turnout in elections held since 11 September).

James J. Reid - 9/11/2002

If we define ourselves by popular culture and television, then perhaps Mr. Krauthammer is right. I do not define myself by those standards. As an individual human being, I know that I have changed, and I have changed some people around me. In my first job as a professor, I replaced another professor whose house had been bombed by terrorists. That was back in 1979, and the issue was the Lebanese Civil War. The terrorists were active in L. A. at the time, and they were Christian, not Muslim. I dealt with that situation for four years, and, at the same time confronted some extremely serious situations relating to the Iranian Revolution [I also taught history of Iran classes]. Over ten years laterin 1994, while teaching an Islam class in another American university, I received a death threat from a supporter of the Blind Shaikh - a young Afghan who may later have gone to fight with the Taliban. He said I was not a Muslim, and thus should be targeted. That situation went on for six months. My life has been defined by terrorism from the very beginning of my career, and I still cannot figure out why I survived. Before 9/11/01, America existed in total denial. I could not express myself or speak about my experiences to anyone. On more than one occasion, people blamed me for what the terrorists wanted to do to me. I did not provoke the situation, and I am quite open-minded about other cultures and peoples [I know ten languages aside from English]. Having lived under this regime of denial, I thought I could never express myself on the issue in a direct way. The reactions I find in people are quite different now. I have become a minor celbrity in my neighborhood, health club, and community just by the nature of my story. More people try to understand the issue. Since I have published on the history of terrorism, people who would not normally do so, have asked to read my publications. I have classes on the subject again. Enrollment has skyrocketed. An Afghan woman in one of the classes spoke about her arranged marriae after my lecture on that point, and stated that she felt happy in her marriage. She is thoroughly westernized in other respects. We are all more aware of America's cultural diversity now. Tragically, there are people who continue to live in denial. The young woman who checks towels and keys at the club where I do my workout is afraid that I will explode in front of her, and she will become a victim of terrorism. The fear that comes upon her face when I ask for my key and towel freezes her into place, and she cannot speak. Even this fear is a different form of denial than existed before 9/11/01. People who fear being caught near me, do not blame me for something they imagine I might have done. Now, they realize the fault is not my own. Their denial has now become a fear of falling victims themselves. Psychologically, 9/11/01 has left a vast array of different orientations, most of which are not a return to normal the way it was before. Perhaps this very personal reflection is molded by my experiences, but those who say that everything has returned to the way it was before 9/11/01 look only at the surface, and peer not into inner recesses of the human mind. Those who say that we have gone back to normal, have only returned to a denial. That is precisely what the terrorists await - the reemergence of DENIAL.

Mary Conroy - 9/11/2002

I believe the terrorist attack reaffirmed how important for world civilization are the values our country represents--an oasis of market economics, a place where people of humble origins can succeed if they are determined to do so. For me, personally, the attack deepened my irritation with my leftist "liberal" colleagues at CU-Denver and leftist "liberals" in general.

Micky Young - 9/11/2002

I believe the majority of comments received on the 9/11 poll re-inforce my thoughts of a return to selfishness. Most took the opportunity not to consider the question, but to bash the present administration. I shiver in my shoes to think how the 9/11 events might have been handle by the previous President and his staff. Also your question sparked, in a few, the "good vs evil" response. The lack of any clear cut guidelines to right and wrong can be accredited to Mr. Clinton and his liberal following. These guys do not want to know right from wrong because it just might spoil their fun. So instead they display their ability to "think, reason & rationalize" by name calling those who don't agree with their views (isn't maturity a requirement for "modern reasoning"?). I'm afraid there is a right and there is a wrong, though some gray areas may exist; you can't go through life sitting on the fence. Even if you choose "not to choose", you have chosen. Just because our views and opinions may differ, doesn't mean we have to work against each other. We can agree to disagree and perhaps put our energy into those things we can agree on. If we consider the needs of others ahead of our own, then maybe, just maybe, we as a human race can accomplish much.

Mike Hogan - 9/11/2002

I don't believe it changed us. That is exactly the point. The terrorists wanted to change us, they wanted to destroy our way of life. They do not like what America stands for. Truth, Justice, Freedom. The victory over the Taliban and destruction of terrorist camps, training, logistics, etc were outside signs of the real victory - That we kept America as she is. America is always changing, just not from the terms of terrorists!

Sam - 9/11/2002

I'm an American, and I agree with you.

Our policies have wreaked death and destruction all over the planet, and are a root cause of the death and destruction of Sept 11.

We haven't changed, and that's the saddest part of Sept. 11.

Chris Osborne - 9/10/2002

On balance the country hasn't changed. The two limited ways in which we have changed is that we have become more of an internal security state, as is the case with many foreign countries; and the populace is more jumpy.
Mr. Krauthammer concentrates on the continued decadence in American popular culture, and undoubtedly the continued taste for sleaze sustains his claim. I look more at politics. The conservative era in the country continues as it has since the end of the 1960s, with a heavy dose of centrism from pragmatic Republicans and the Democratic Leadership Council. Middle East foreign policy has also remained the same, with the U.S. remaining Israel's best supporter and America continuing to pursue, for better or worse, unilateral foreign policy initiatives in the region.
Most Americans also seem to have accepted the conservative explanation as to "why they hate us." The country believes the Muslim world hates us because they're jealous of our wealth, democracy, and freedom--rather than from any actual or alleged American misconduct (as argued by Left of Center opinion).
Perhaps the country is too jaded to be traumatized by any one event any longer. September 11th in its way wasn't like the assassination of President Kennedy, where American naivete died on that open limousine seat with him; or like the assassination of Dr. King, when American idealism died on that motel balcony with him.

R. Hils - 9/10/2002

The Ugly American is alive and well...doing well enough to feel free to practice that voodoo they do so well on their own employees and their retirement funds...nothing is sacred. American flags look out of place for some reason plastered all over that Mitsubishi that just went by. Beamoth Expeditions and Suburbans guzzle away precious energy and when push comes to shove young Americans will die to keep it that way yet enlistments were actually down since 9/11. Memories are short here, El Salvador, Nicaruaga, free trade zones for the Dole Corp enforced by Marcos' goons....CEOs terrorized enslaved and executed with the tools of friendly dictators..still do. I do not justify in any way the attacks of 9/11...just point out that corporate America has created alot of payback thats still out there. Despite our well heeled and oiled media propaganda machines we are, in the eyes of much of the world, self serving, greed driven hypocrites. We sold our freedom and our souls for "fat, dumb and happy."

E. Farren - 9/10/2002

To say that 9/11 did not change us is frighteningly wrong!!!! How many of us have walked into a convenience store and had serious thoughts of what may be in the back room? How many of us chose a train over an airplane? What suspicions accosted us in the middle of the night and, if you have children, how did you explain? I am not saying our change was good. In fact, I think it brought us back a few decades when riding in the back of the bus was the norm. It has caused us to be more cautious, suspicious and on guard. Why does our president have us at a level Orange in our defense tactics? How many Muslim people were the scape goats for our anger? To say we did not change is crazy, sadly, we are a worse people.

jon radin - 9/10/2002

After WWII we were secure until the USSR exploded the Bomb. Than for almost half a century we felt vulnerable, especially in the 1950's and 60's. For a few years after the Soviet Union collapsed we felt invulnerable. Now we feel vulnerable again. Things go in cycles, we don't change.

Doug Reynolds - 9/10/2002

9/11 was a windfall for the administration. The administration has found its true self. Instead of the Red scare of the '50s, which sent school children scurrying under school desks, it has a new boogie-man: terrorism and the axis of evil! Is it just politicians, or do "we, the people," need enemies, real and imagined? I hate to see "my government" making my country (a country I love) the enemy of so much of the world with its one-note foreign policy. I hate to see "my government" making my country and we, the people, victims of its one-note domestic policy. The administration is successfully hiding deep problems of corporate criminality, deep tax cuts for the rich already bringing on deep budget deficits, and problems of health care and prescription drugs behind the skirts of war mongering. It frightens me that the administration claims US exemption from international law and standards, thereby inviting other countries and leaders to violate human rights and international law in the name of the "US crusade" against terrorism.

The administration has gone far on many, many wrong tracks because of 9/11 . . . and the public is falling for it. But we have not changed. Times will change, the people will wake up, we will change administrations. We have found the enemy - and the enemy is us. (Not entirely, of course. There are real terrorists out there. But how much should we compromise public freedoms and constitutional rights and the public interest when multiple intelligence and surveillance services, the best in the world, should be - and could be - doing a much better job?)

The time will come, hopefully soon, when we, the people, stop allowing our government to scapegoat others to divert attention from truly serious issues and problems that require serious and sustained attention at home.

Sad times. And scary.

Will Blackwood - 9/10/2002

I am not an American, so let me say at the outset that my commment is not intended to denigrate the memory of those who died in the events of September 11, nor is it intended as excuse or apology for such acts of wanton and indiscriminate violence. Many stories of heroism and self sacrifice surround the events and the images of that day, particularly at the Twin Towers, remain seared on ones memory.

However, the answer to the question 'Did it Change us?' must surely be an emphatic no. Rather than change America, or its people, the events of September 11 served to restore the ancien regime. For a short period, between the collapse of the Soviet Union until 9/11, America had been moving away from a bi-polar view of the world.

The collapse of the Soviet Union had, in Gorbachev's words, deprived the United States of an enemy. Containment was no longer an issue and US foreign policy had begun to move towards caolition building as a means to achieve its ends. 'You're either with us or against us' as an instrument of foreign policy was beginning to be replaced by a more conciliatory approach. In short, the doves were slowly gaining ascendency.

The events of September 11 must have seemed like a hallelujah chorus to the hawks within the beltway. Conciliation and diplomacy were (and remain) off the menu: here was a new war against something which all right thinking people abhorr. Time to do a quick bit of find and replace, substituting terrorism for communism. At a stroke, bi-polar certainty - and along with it an inability to distinguish centre from periphary - had returned.

Yet the irony goes unnoticed: since the inception of the Monroe Doctrine, America has been commiting acts of terror against sovereign states and harbouring terrorists yet remains outraged by terrorist attacks on the house on the hill.

The American people's response, if we are to believe the media, is to wrap themselves in the Stars and Stripes and cry 'God Bless America'. And as we submit to a deluge of images from Ground Zero one year on, very few voices are heard asking the one question that really matters: 'Why do people hate us so much that they would do this?'

Until this question is asked on every street corner of every town - and an answer sought - the answer to the question 'Did it change us?' will remain an emphatic 'NO'.

Roy Williams - 9/10/2002

No, we did not change.

We are still a nation of self-centered individuals, driven by the lust for money, sex, and power.

J M - 9/10/2002

This is trivial, and a waste of time.

Inupiaq - 9/10/2002

Note from the Editor of HNN: If you use an old version of the Netscape browser, you may not be able to read the comments posted by readers on articles published by the new system we installed this summer. The new system employs coding that the old browsers cannot decipher. We apologize for any inconvenience. I've noticed numerous blank messages on this thread. Some are no doubt intentional, the posters having communicated their opinions in all their subtlety on the subject lines. I have noticed, though, that my own messages are truncated "top-down," so to speak, appearing on the thread from the second paragraph down. The initial paragraphs have been removed before posting. (Who'd put anything significant in an initial paragraph, right?) Many posts no doubt contain only one paragraph, which, when removed, leaves us only blank space to contemplate when we attempt to read the opinions of others here. So this message is a test piece: It is one paragraph long, but that paragraph will appear twice, in initial and in second positions, when I submit the response. If only one paragraph appears, we'd seem to have a technical problem. If two or none appear, the problem is more complex . . . . ve noticed numerous blank messages on this thread. Some are no doubt intentional, the posters having communicated their opinions in all their subtlety on the subject lines. I have noticed, though, that my own messages are truncated "top-down," so to speak, appearing on the thread from the second paragraph down. The initial paragraphs have been removed before posting. (Who'd put anything significant in an initial paragraph, right?) Many posts no doubt contain only one paragraph, which, when removed, leaves us only blank space to contemplate when we attempt to read the opinions of others here. So this message is a test piece: It is one paragraph long, but that paragraph will appear twice, in initial and in second positions, when I submit the response. If only one paragraph appears in the posted message, we'd seem to have a technical problem. If two or none appear, the problem is more complex . . . .

Inupiaq - 9/10/2002

As the test message above confirms, what we are reading on this thread is a direct reflection of the site sponsors' editorial interests, as well as of such of the respondents' ideas as clear the electronic blue pencil. I'm not objecting to censorship, which may be interpreted as a duty of sponsorship. I'd just like it duly noted, that's all.

Inupiaq - 9/10/2002

Note from the Editor of HNN: Nobody's comments have been truncated. As explained elsewhere, the new publishing system we installed this summer employs advance coding that cannot be deciphered by old versions of Netscape. The comments can be accessed by anybody using new browsers. We apologize for the inconvenience. ******************** We should be grateful, I suppose, to the sponsors of the site for their vigilance in truncating the comments submitted by respondents to their poll. That gratitude should not lead us to lose sight of the circumstance, however, that "silent" editing of a poster's remarks may significantly color, perhaps even substantially alter, the sense of those remarks. It would be circumspect to regard all posts here as the product not of the putative authors, but rather of the site's sponsors, conscientious editors willing to assume responsibility for the form assumed by all comments they see fit to publish on their site. **Gratias agimus vobis, amici*.

Joan Crow-Epps - 9/10/2002

This was a deeply felt, extensively covered, decisive event in the lives of the American people as a whole. Has the government changed? No, the Republicans and the Democrats are the same only more so, and the bureaucracy has reacted by becoming more bureaucratic. Has popular culture changed? Not yet, because the advertisers, movie and television producers, music companies, etc. all had products in the pipeline that they had to sell. Has religion changed? No, not yet - they're still touting the same old thing. Have the American people at a grassroots level changed? Yes, yes, yes. Americans as a whole are appalled at the reaction of the government on all levels, questioning the popular culture, disenchanted with religious pronouncements about 'God's will'. Many people are now aware that the theocracy which the Fundamentalist Christians want to establish in this country would be as destructive as the Fundamentalist Islam of the Middle East. Americans as a whole are very, very aware that the victims and heros of this disaster were people just like them, going about lives just like theirs, who were suddenly caught up in horror, and they are questioning the basic foundations on which their lives are based. People are making changes in their attitudes and their lives, and the resulting cumulative change to the American culture at all levels will not be known for years.

Inupiaq - 9/10/2002

So your point, if I take it correctly, is that we *have* been changed by the events of 9/11 and their aftermath, in that we are unlikely to number Saddam Hussein among the clients for our weapons industries?

Okay. Sure. That's certainly one way of framing the question of change.

Thanks for the insight.

Inupiaq - 9/10/2002

The third option, "Can't tell," tempted me, but perhaps not for the reasons that led poll designers to include it. The referent of the first person plural object in the question is very difficult for me to conceive. Many reflective persons have found their outlooks substantially changed by the events of last September 11th, and by the varied responses they have observed to those events. On Donne's "No man is an island" principle, "it" must obviously have changed "us."

Using the first person plural like a big tent, though, as the pollsters evidently intend, reveals a different scene. While nothing can extenuate the terrorists' actions, the pretext of their "jihad" rests on a case that Western society is both expansionist and decadent, at the same time. They contend that the global reach of Western media and its sponsors threatens to leave no safe social harbors from the erosion of sound cultural values by images of a narcissistic individualism which they regard as "Satanic." The invalidity of the terrorists' response does not render that charge moot. As Krauthammer observes, "Before the first year was out, it was back, all of it. Irony. Triviality. Vulgarity. Frivolousness. Whimsy. Farce." This would seem to be the situation, as the character of 9/11 media coverage shockingly confirms. (I'd be inclined to except *Frontline*'s "Faith and Doubt at Ground Zero" from the general condemnation, but that project, too, strikes some sensitive, thoughtful viewers as a real mixed bag.) Krauthammer's evaluation of what he regards as fundamental features of "the old reality," on the premise that "triviality," "vulgarity," and "frivolousness" are "all the things no healthy society can live without," more or less emphasizes the point. I suppose the "irony" of that assessment may give the author what he must regard as a "healthy" delight.

If I could see any evidence that, one year later, substantial numbers of "us" had set aside even a few essential human experiences that the main currents of our commercial culture could no longer reach, even a handful of human interactions regarded as not subject to material evaluation for purposes of market exchange, I would hold out hope that the horrifying events of a year past had changed "us" in some significant ways. I have seen people following this line of behavior, but their actions have had no discernible influence on the general "race to the cultural bottom" celebrated by Krauthammer--or was that celebration just another instance of his "healthy irony"? In any event, any meaningful changes that may emerge from the Islamists' ironic challenge have not yet assumed an identifiable form.

Don Hughes - 9/10/2002

The buildings fell. We had immense sympathy and support. The enemy, the terrorists, it was clear, threatened all nations. It was a time for cooperation within the world community.

The president:
Denounced an "Axis of Evil" composed of nations that, so far as we know, had nothing to do with the attacks.
Withdrew from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty.
Refused to join or even cooperate with the International Criminal Court.
Rejected cooperation on global warming and refused to attend the UN Conference on Development, while successfully weakening many of its agreements.

The sympathy disappeared. We are isolated in our unilateralism.

John R. M. Wilson - 9/10/2002

It seems to me that 9-11 has legitimized George W. Bush as president in the eyes of the American people. His poll ratings, even though they are declining gradually, are still far above what they would have been had the attack not occurred. Democrats seem reluctant to criticize him lest they be politically liable as unpatriotic (shades of rolling over and letting late overseas ballots sway the Florida vote count). WIth the war on terrorism as his base, Bush seems to have forgotten he has no electoral mandate . . . and he's getting away with it!

Bill Henslee - 9/10/2002

Americans remain open and friendly, almost goofily so, to most of the world, most of the time. It is easy for others to misread the American character--but when aroused we are unrelenting warriors. Anyone who wants to pull this tiger's tail should study the ratio of enemy dead to American dead in our foreign wars. In every case, the ratio is so high in our favor that you'd think most people would be wary of us. No one thinks of us as having a warrior caste, but look at what we did to the two countries (Japan and Germany) famous for their cult of the warrior. We continue to be a very very scary people.

Steve Russell - 9/10/2002

The Tonkin Gulf Fraud. The sinking of the Maine.

We have in the past been fooled into thinking offense is defense.

But now we seem to be slip-sliding away from even the pretense of a "just war" in foreign policy and the ideas of privacy and due process (among other endangered values) in domestic policy.

In a word, the terrorists are winning. Not because they hurt us directly, but because they have scared us into hurting ourselves. That is, I suppose, the point of terrorism, to the extent that it has a point.

I suppose we were bound to get struck directly eventually, but I had hoped that we would fight back more intelligently.

Beth Luers - 9/10/2002

9/11 gave a floundering, unelected president a cause. Recently, when he found himself floundering again, he talks of a war that will give him another cause and turn our heads away from the problems at home.

L. Civitello - 9/10/2002

I am a history teacher. My students couldn't wait to talk to me after 9/11, to help them deal with what had happened and to tell me that they finally understood -- emotionally -- the history that I had been trying to teach them. "We heard you when you talked about Kennedy's assassination, and about how everybody in America was glued to the television, but we didn't really understand what you meant until 9/11." Each generation has its own "indelible events"; for most of the kids in high school now, 9/11 was the first. Here in So. Cal., they added it to earthquakes and riots.

Other changes: this will cause an increase in government infrastructure and expense commensurate with NSC-68, and the erosion of civil liberties that is always present with the threats of war, from the Alien and Sedition Acts to Lincoln's suspension of habeas corpus, to the lid on free speech in WWI.
(I do not enjoy being patted down in airports.) That farce in the national cathedral last year -- instead of at a secular site representative of the state -- gave religion a boost it didn't need. (We are in the midst of a Fourth Great Awakening; Progressivism was the third.) It is too bad that we did not use 9/11 as an opportunity to explain to all those people running around waving the flag and claiming to be 100% America what that means, because they have no clue. And yes, we have returned to our decadent ways, with an increase in triviality, frivolity, and in Krauthammer's case, cynicism.

RMD - 9/10/2002

Krauthammer argues we have not changed by focusing on popular culture, which argurably could be the last
venue to reflect change since it depends on tried and true formulas inherited from the period prior to
September 11.

Ask those regimes and peoples who have either encouraged islamcist forces or utilized their frustrations
for their on ends whether "we" have changed, and I suspect that the answer will be "yes." Certainly
our awareness of the nature of this threat to our interests and culture has changed.

Paul Siff - 9/10/2002

In the attacks' immediate aftermath many Americans were shocked and numbed into a more gentle, other-regarding treatment of their fellow citizens: they drove more slowly and thoughtfully, actually came to full halts at stop signs, and graciously yielded the right of way. They held doors and extended other minor courtesies to perfect strangers; a national bond of grief seemed to have taken hold. By my observation, this lasted about 5 days. By the following Saturday, which I spent bicycling and incidentally observing road manners, drivers had returned to their old ways. So, too had others. The somber mood of mourning lifted for most of us; the pundit-predictions that earnestness would replace irony, that frivolity and decadence would vanish from popular culture, proved illusory. Most of America today is wallowing in the same old sleazy trough. Along the way we were treated to another seemingly easy military victory, fist-pumping slogans ("United We Stand"), and a knee-jerk, essentially meaningless "patriotism" (pace Todd Gitlin). The "Nothing Will Ever Be The Same" crowd - Larry King and his minions - capitalized nicely on popular credulity, but they were - and are-wrong.

Pia G. - 9/10/2002

. . . we weren't asked to give up anything (except maybe our civil liberties) . . . all the government really wanted us to do was go out and shop in New York City . . . it should have changed us for the better, but it didn't . . .

"The is no way to Peace. Peace is the way." -- AJ Muste

Ev in New Mexico - 9/10/2002

I agree with this assessment on many levels. And I agree with some of the other commentators who have surmised that yes, there have been SOME changes and no, there haven't been others. I agree that we're back to business as usual in a lot of ways, but I also think that 9/11 is always in our minds and when we DO start thinking about the event itself, then I think perhaps it causes us to wonder about the world outside our American windows. So maybe in that shift there--where we actually ponder, if only for a few moments, our relationship as Americans to the rest of the world--lies the difference between pre- and post-September 11th 2001. MORE Americans are thinking about that now than perhaps they were previously and in my experience, I sense a general unease in people when the topic comes up in conversations. Beneath patriotic bluster and (unfortunately) xenophobic knee-jerking, beneath the sympathy for people who lost friends and family, beneath the anger, there's a general unease, it seems, about the U.S.'s relationship to the rest of the world. And there's an unease about the steps the current administration is taking on the homefront, if you will, in its "war on terrorism."

So I think there have been some shifts, but in terms of fundamental change? Not yet.

Judi Toroni - 9/10/2002

It seems to me that people have failed to remain angry, and we should be angry. Instead, I see the same shallowness and materialistic attitudes returning to our society. I'm afraid we will soon have a wake-up call, and perhaps then, the American public will realize that complacency can be very dangerous, but we will pay a horrible price.

K.B.S. - 9/10/2002

Under this unelected right wing administration before 9/11 we were moving toward a corporate state. After 9/11 we continue
as the country also moves to become a national security state.

Christine Crandall - 9/10/2002

I think that the US government changed more than American people themselves. The government took away many of our personal liberties this past year and is continuing to do so in the name of fighting "terrorism."

Frank Vandiver - 9/10/2002

America has reacted pretty much like it usually does to a sudden crisis. Most Americans, I think,
reacted in temporary alarm and accepted the ned for heavily increased security measures. The government
reacted much the way it did during the first Red Scare of the 20s and the irruption of the McCarthy
era. As with those3 earlier crises, Americans tended to throw the baby out with the bathwater and
yielded too much liberty under the guise of safety. Attorney General Ashcroft seems to be following
trails blazed by A. Mitchell Palmer and J. Edgar Hoover. More serious than the NY attack is the attack
on the Constitution.

J Thomas - 9/10/2002

The USA has bombed many cities and killed many people (Iraq, Afghanistan - and earlier in the Phillpines and many other places) with impunity, knowing that their AA-fire could not reach US aitrcraft.
In the Gulf War it was known that the range of guns on Iraqui tanks (like sitting ducks)could not reach US tanks.

911 was the first time the USA has experienced retaliation 'in kind.'

Sheldon Hackney - 9/10/2002

Dear HNN -- For the first time in my life, I agree with Krauthammer!
Amazed -- Sheldon Hackney

James Griesmer - 9/10/2002

I voted No in the poll because I do not think the people of the U.S. have fundamentally changed after 9/11. Their principal concerns are fairly much what they were before 9/11--e.g., the state of the economy. What has changed is the belief of the Bush administration that it has carte blanche to bend the Constitution here at home, and make a preemptive strike on Iraq, all in the name of the "war on terrorism."

Carole Frick - 9/10/2002

The events of that day represented a violently-expanded consciousness for anyone who thinks. It was a rent in the cultural fabric. Of course, we know most people are so involved in the minutae of their everyday material needs, that the number of people who actually think, will forever be only a few. But as a university professor teaching Western Civ last fall, I found my freshmen absolutely stunned and silent--blank. Perhaps these are the people who were changed. Last semester, a full six months after the event, one even said she wished she were MY age, because her own future looked so bleak. That was a first.

Tomye Kelley - 9/10/2002

My hunch is that those of us who experience a profound change within ourselves perceive "changes" in general to have occurred in the country. Those of us who perceive ourselves as more or less the same would say, no changes have occurred in people in general.

A major reason why I felt no change in myself is that the general population, the population outside of the NE was shielded from much of the events of the days that followed 9/11. Now that may seem a strange statement to make, since we were so flooded with accounts of the tragedy, but I realized after five or six weeks that the tragedy had no "face" outside of NY. We were shielded from the "faces" of the tragedy and the dead had no names. The enormous loss of life on American soil became sanatized and without soul or identity.

I believe this was done intentionally and deliberately -- for cause. I believe the news media bought into President Bush's excessive need for the country to jump right back into normalicy -- to go to the oprea, go to a baseball game, go shopping, go spend money. The only way that might happen would be if the tragedy and those human beings who died were sanatized out of the rest of the country's minds and thoughts. No names, no identity, no memory.

I pulled up the New York Times on the internet last fall and winter and looked at the pictures of the victims that the NYT published along with a brief biographical sketch, written by someone from the victim's family. I needed the connection to make it real for me. I prefered making that connection over going out and spending money.

I do believe that ourside of the extreme north east, this country was sanatized out of a full experience of the event. What one fails to experience, one fails to experience a change from. Awkwardly stated, but my belief all the same.

Elizabeth P. Stewart - 9/10/2002

The events of 9/11 unquestionably awakened many Americans to the reality of the U.S. as a global player, and not necessarily a benign one. We are no longer immune from the threat of terrorism that people in the Middle East and Central Asia have in the backs of their minds every day. The question really is, how long will any changes last? Pearl Harbor initiated sweeping social change that could not have been anticipated on December 7, nor probably even a year later. Krauthammer is correct that the triviality, the irony, the consumption have all returned -- in fact, we were exhorted to do our patriotic duty and spend, spend, spend just days after the attacks. If this is the only contribution that officials can prescribe for us as individuals to create a safer country and world, then their failure of imagination will negate any possible positive reassessment as a result of 9/11.

Carolsue Holland - 9/10/2002

Yes, the US has changed since 9/11/01. As a country we've become much more impatient with diversity. We have less tolerance for others who may be different from us. We are reluctant to speak out if someone transgresses our personal prerogatives. The media and Madison Avenue trivialize the positive values of American individuality by covering up our insecurities with false pictures of a public self-righteous unity larded by superficial and naive views, arrogantly self-satisfied judgments, and continuing preoccupation with ostentatious consumerism. What troubles me most is that anyone who attempts to call attention to what's happening is relegated to a category comprised of doomsayers or unpatriotic critics. Few in positions to speak out against the outrageous infringements on Civil Rights in America now think it's politic to do so. Americans are being stifiled by a kind of John Ashcroft authoritarianism. It's NOT "business" as it was before 9/11; instead, it's a deliberate erosion of the aspects of a democratic system that has made this country great. Where is the moral outrage on the part of major national figures when news about corporate greed breaks? Where is the moral outrage from the national government when the unemployment compensations of vicitms of 9/11 have run out? Where is the moral outrage from the Oval Office when organizations like the Red Cross enrich themselves with the public's contributions?
Yes, the US has changed. It's much more tolerant of lipservers than do-gooders.

John Sproat - 9/10/2002

I con't give much credence to anything Krauthammer has to way. Of course we changed--if by we you mean the country. The present administration has already expanded executive power more than in any instance since the Civil War. It is also taking advantage of the 9/22 reaction to drag browbeat the country & the world into a war against Iraq. Further, our political processes seemed paralyzed by fear that critical dissent is equated with lack of patriotism. If all this isn't change I don't know what is!

Larry Nederlof - 9/10/2002

my problem is that I have for the last 20 years followed Krauthammer and sofar have not been able to agree with him on any matter he touches.....

James Schneider - 9/10/2002

The key word in the question, of course, is 'decisively.' I think only context, meaning in this case subsequent time and events, will allow us to answer this question with much confidence. If I had to take a position at this moment I'd say 'no,' taking as bases for comparison analogous tragedies such as Bunker Hill, Antietam, the sinking of the Lusitania, and Pearl Harbor. Almost everyone I know here in south Texas seems to go about their daily lives about as they did before the attack. The effect of the Bush administration's proposed changes in the national security arena is as yet unclear to me. What finally will Congress enact? What willl the administration try to do on its own? What will survive Court review? Then there's the overseas situation. What will happen with respect to Iraq? These are all significant unknowns. A year from now my current 'no' answer could well shift to 'yes.'

William Brown - 9/10/2002

Krauthammer is exactly right. What has been most disappointing is the failure of presidential leadership. Where was the call to sacrifice, to change the way we act? The President missed an opportunity to rally the country in pursuit of reduced dependence on foreign energy--a dependence that binds us to the corrupt, terrorist tyranny of Saudi Arabia. Instead, Bush's message was simple: go out and shop. What a shame! And now, the President is leading us down the garden path towards an open-ended military adventure in Iraq to secure that country's oil reserves for his buddies (Cheney, et. al.) Again, what a shame!

Daniel Drooz - 9/10/2002

Despite protestations to the contrary from President George W. Bush, very little has changed since September 11th 2001.
There was an huge amount of personal pain. But the world before and after September 11 is exactly the same. The problems and challenges we faced prior to the attack remain. Recession, poverty and hunger remain. Economic and political crisis in Southern Africa and South America are constant. Europe, both before and after September 11, is busy with its own affairs. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict remains static. India and Pakistan rattle their nuclear swords. Iraq's continuing evasion of international supervision of its development of mass-destruction weapons is still unresolved. Increasing fundamentalism among millions of Muslims in answer to dictatorship and corruption in places euphemistically called "moderate” remains chronic. Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the Palestinian Authority, and Algeria are all slipping into religious ferment based on some dream of world wide Islamic domination.
Al-Qaida is a small very wealthy terrorist organization supported by Saudi funds.It was there and it remains. It infrastructure barely damaged.
Osama bin Laden saved the Bush administration from irrelevance. The overthrow of the Taliban in Afghanistan gave Bush purpose. But it was not of strategic value. The world’s greatest superpower took on the 150th strongest power.
The US failed to destroy Al Quaida or capture a significant leader. Bin Laden eluded the US altogether. But that probably only took a quick trip to Saudi Arabia, his sponsor and untouchable ‘moderate friend of the US.” The US persists, even after September 11, in its appeasement of the Saudi regime. The Saudis generously fund Islamic terror organizations, including al Quaida, Hamas, and Palestinian suicide bombers. The Saudis refuse to cooperate with Americans investigating the Khobar Towers, USS Cole and September 11th all of which were funded by Saudi money and the major players were Saudi nationals. The Saudis are not required to help their “allies” because they sell oil to the West, and buy our weapons.
Islamic civilization has failed to find its way to socio-economic modernity or democracy. No force of any kind will solve the complex problems of Islam and Muslim societies. This was as true before September 11 as it is now.
One of the most serious consequences of September 11 is the carte blanche the US gave Pakistan to "fight terror," because they are "on our side." Pakistani dictator Pervez Musharraf just buried democracy in his country --again deferring elections. His intelligence service founded the Taliban and supported al-Quaida. Pakistan harbors Islamic terrorists in Kashmir. But they are our “friends.”
The "moderate" regimes in the Arab world with very few exceptions follow a similar pattern:seeking stability by channeling frustration and popular anger toward Israel and the US.
The Iraq situation is even more complex. Unlike Afghanistan, there is no equivalent of the Northern Alliance to serve as mercenaries. Americans will be forced to fight themselves.
The only thing that has changed is the US experienced a new burst of Jingoism and a near McCarthyite attitude towards descent. The news media lost its balance altogether. The Justice department thinks it has sworn an oath to disassemble the Bill of Rights rather than defend it. The military industrial complex has been revitalized so Bush can hope for better results at the polls in states dependent on the defense industry in 2004. And anyone who thinks the administration may be short on logic, ability and direction, is “not patriotic.”
Once again we have an administration from Texas saying, “trust us. We know why we are going to do this, but we don’t have to tell you for national security reasons.” One wonders what they will use for Gulf of Tonkin redux.

Bud Wood - 9/10/2002

If I lived in NYC, I would know that Ammerican was changed by 9-11. However, living in the west, I can't see much of a change except in what I hear is happening at airports and in congress. Thus, it seems rather short sighted to make an assumption that three hundred million people who live in towns, cities, and rural locations and whose family and workplace environments differ so markedly can be grouped as to a major attitude change. Certainly, I am appalled at the 9-11 attack. Although that hasn't changed me, I'm sure that it's changed others. But three hundren million people? Who can really say as we go about our individual lives?

D. Alan Harris - 9/10/2002

I voted yes, but must explain my vote. I experienced 9/ll while on a tripthat involved flying and then renting a car. It was a combined business and vacation. On 9/ll my wife and I watached the unfolding of the horror at the home of a relative. I realized as I watched the second plane bank and come in that it was deliberate. Although shocked and horrified I was not frightened. We would have been willing to fly back home thefollowing Friday had we thought the airport would be open. Under the circumstances we drove back in the rental car. To me the change that has taken place is an increased awareness of our vulnerability to terror attacks. Yet as a nation we seem to have realized that we must continue with our activities in a normal manner, or wewill have let the terrorists succeed.

Larry C. Wilson - 9/10/2002

I was born in Dorothy's Kansas,will be 60 in two months, and I'm now convinced that Americans are apt to silliness: "political correctness", "closure", "co-depndency", and so forth. American's chief complaint concerning the terrorists seems to be the inconvenience and worry they cause

Jim Halsema - 9/10/2002

I have no real idea of whether Americans changed or not--my immediate contacts don't seem to have but all I know about the other 280+ million comes from the media. How accurate is it?

Charlotte Borst - 9/10/2002

Tho 9/11 was a very traumatic experience for many Americans, it did not fundamentally change us. In part, this was a postive thing--we mourned, and then picked ourselves up and went on...sometimes it was very difficult, and I know that many people felt it took months to feel "normal" again. On the other hand, the fact that we did not change was a negative thing--and indeed, as someone who has taught 20th century American history, I see very spooky historical precedents following the end of World War 1 and 2 that for the assault on civil liberties that we are currently witnessing. These historical precedents show that we must be on guard that we don't give up the very liberties that we think most important.

Gary Henrickson - 9/10/2002

As a veteran of a "real" war, rather than a phoney war, the events of 9-11 were a pinprick. They had virtually no effect--economic or military-- on the United States except as a hinge for propaganda.

Roger Chapman - 9/10/2002

Any careful analysis will show that US leaders, after the September 11 attack, have reverted to the Cold War and McCarthyism model. The war on terrorism is not unlike yesteryear's war on communism. Also, America's leaders, like in the past, are energized in a negative way. They are not interested in making the world better (by tackling important issues like health care, environment, alternatives to fossil fuels), but only wish to be warriors. They rather bomb than build.

As for the American people, yesteryear they PASSIVELY watched their government send troops to Korea and Vietnam, initiate the Bay of Pigs invasion, intervene in many Third World countries, from Africa to Central America, have the FBI monitor many citizens who were doing nothing more than particiapting in the political process, increase the military budget to obese extremes and engage in deficit spending. The American flag pledge was altered to invoke God, to give the nation a self-righteous tilt and to frame the Cold War in an unambiguous "good versus evil" contest.

Today, the American people are PASSIVELY watching the war on terrorism encompass the globe. Like the villagers in Vietnam, many in Afghanistan and elsewhere have been hurt and killed because they got in the way of America while it was pursuing the enemy. (This is permissible because the people of Afghanistan have only their government to blame for aiding and abetting terrorism. The US does not purposely target civilians, so this is why the US is different than Osama bin Laden and his forces. Of course, whether your loved one died by the former or the latter does not make much difference in terms of shattered dreams.) President Bush, who wants to avenge the humility of his father who started Gulf War I, is now promoting a new doctrine of "Attack Others If There Is Any Possibility They Might Some Day Attack Us." Was not the Domino Theory a similar mentality, since it advocated certain actions to prevent perceived and imagined consequences? And like his Cold War predecessors, Bush has framed the war on terrorism as good versus evil. In the fight against communism, you were either with the American government or you were against it--no middle ground for critical thinking and thoughful analysis. Recently, when a federal court in California ruled that the flag pledge's "under God" statement was a violation of the Consitution's separation between church and state, the American people howled. The timing could not have been worse, as the tentative decision threatened the nation's self-righteous posturing when it has once again divided the world between "us" and "them," the good guys and the bad guys.

Have we changed? This is all new only if we have decided not to remember the past.

Roger Chapman, Instructor
Department of Social Sciences
Lincoln Trail College
Robinson, Illinois

William S. Monroe - 9/10/2002

Here we are, still as isolationist as ever, reaching out to the rest of the world
only to snatch a quick bite to eat, or to strike quickly at some perceived threat.
But are we willing to truly engage? Are we willing to learn anything about the
rest of the world and what they think and feel. Just look at the yahoos who
raised such a fuss about the assignment of readings from the Qur'an at Chapel
Hill. Look at a more recent controversy over a speaker in Colorado
( Americans remain as
closed-minded as ever -- only perhaps more arrogant in their own self-righteousness.
We were attacked -- therefore we must be right!
We have allowed the horrendous crime of a few fanatical misfits to become
an excuse for alienating all Muslims, most of the Middle East, and even many of
our potential allies -- and to become an excuse for waging war against people
who had nothing to do with the original crime. Have we changed? I wish we

bbtrane - 9/10/2002

You're darn right 9/11 changed me. For the first time, the reality hit me that my 24-year old son (or 19-year old daughter) could be actively involved in a war. That got my attention, big time. If I learned one thing from living through the Vietnam War era as a college student at University of Wisconsin-Madison, it was this: Be very careful about inciting to riot. You can't control events and you never know where it is going to lead. As a lifelong student of military history, I'm for the methodical school of military action. Consistent buildup, practical strategy, clear goals. 9/11 was a clear message to get our house in order.

By the by, I don't watch TV. I realize Charles Krauthammer worded this to beg a response, but maybe he needs to watch a little less TV and every so often, get a job where he waits table or works the phones at an HMO. It would be a good way to reality check his opinions.

james dickinson - 9/10/2002

Glen Gildemeister - 9/10/2002

No. Whatever small change there was in America was for the worse. More paranoia, more jingoism, more erosion of civil liberties, some loss of freedom, more shouting and wailing and less contemplation and (real) discussion. How about we ask our representatives from George Bush on down just to declare victory and we try to repair the damage we have done to ourselves in the past year.

Les Wright - 9/10/2002

As Lee Harris points out in a brief, but illuminating, article on "Al Qaeda’s Fantasy Ideology" (in Policy Review 114), the assault on the Twin Towers was a symbolic assault by Islamic extremists on an enemy found only in their fantasy projection. For the Al-Qaeda, demonstrating America’s vulnerability on the world stage was the whole point of their action. American intelligence has read this act as but a foretaste of a far vaster battle to come. America’s response--that this was but the first of act of war by alien terrorists--fulfills the same old collective nightmare-fantasy of invasion by atheistic-communistic monsters or hostile, fire-breathing, gun-toting, green-skinned extraterrestrials. [...]
Now that it has been discovered that dangerous communications conducted in Arabic had been gathered but not translated, there is a manic rush to make up for centuries of deliberately not-knowing Arab and Islamic culture. Alas, in classic American isolationist tradition, "know thy enemy" is precisely the first principle that was swept under the rug after the first wave of shock and disbelief one year ago.

Sadly, any training in the cultures or mindset of this new enemy will come at the price of patriotism—Near East Studies in the name of reinforcing Western preconceptions of the Islamic world will be funded; open inquiry will be censored as "un-American." Worse, the deepening misreading of the terrorist enemy will only serve to pour fuel on the fire.

excerpted from my review of "Al-Qaeda: Brotherhood of Terror" at

Les Wright - 9/10/2002

As Lee Harris points out in a brief, but illuminating, article on “Al Qaeda’s Fantasy Ideology” (in Policy Review 114), the assault on the Twin Towers was a symbolic assault by Islamic extremists on an enemy found only in their fantasy projection. For the Al-Qaeda, demonstrating America’s vulnerability on the world stage was the whole point of their action. American intelligence has read this act as but a foretaste of a far vaster battle to come. America’s response--that this was but the first of act of war by alien terrorists--fulfills the same old collective nightmare-fantasy of invasion by atheistic-communistic monsters or hostile, fire-breathing, gun-toting, green-skinned extraterrestrials.
Now that it has been discovered that dangerous communications conducted in Arabic had been gathered but not translated, there is a manic rush to make up for centuries of deliberately not-knowing Arab and Islamic culture. Alas, in classic American isolationist tradition, “know thy enemy” is precisely the first principle that was swept under the rug after the first wave of shock and disbelief one year ago. [...]
Sadly, any training in the cultures or mindset of this new enemy will come at the price of patriotism—Near East Studies in the name of reinforcing Western preconceptions of the Islamic world will be funded; open inquiry will be censored as “un-American.” Worse, the deepening misreading of the terrorist enemy will only serve to pour fuel on the fire.
(excerpted from my review of "Al-Qaeda: Anatomy of Terror" at

Mark Vogl - 9/10/2002

At this point I can't say. In the next few months it appears America will decide whether we will pre-emptively strike Iraq because we fear they might, someday, get nuclear wespons. If we attack Iraq, then there can be no denying America changed. America's history is filled with the avoidance of war. America has been a pacifist nation in comparison to other nations through out history with similar relative strength. We have not attempted to build empires, and actually have avoided wars. The Berlin Airlift and the Cuban Missile Crisis are two examples of America's resolve to take any measure to avoid conflict. If Amerca does strike Iraq it will begin a new phase in world history. Nations will have to decide whether they will fall in line with the US, or, will they prepare for the inevitable battle. There's alot at stake.

Cathy Stanton - 9/10/2002

In the immediate aftermath of Sept. 11, I heard many, many conversations among many kinds of people, deeply questioning how this could have happened, how America could be so hated, etc. To me, these conversations were a sign of real hope that things *might* change, and that America in general might become more aware of how its actions affect the rest of the world. But then the flag-waving and memorializing and defensive posturing seemed to overwhelm everything else, and despite what I think is the real potential for a grass-roots-level re-thinking of our national policies and priorities, a year later things feel to me like business as usual here in the U.S.

For me, one of the most revealing signs of this was the immediate rush to educate ourselves more about Islam, as though Islam is the root of the problem. It is always good to learn about world religions and politics, but surely the more urgent task here is to educate ourselves more about American policy in the Middle East, including the many years of justifiably-resented western intervention in the region. This is "business as usual" in that most Americans' first reaction seemed to be to question "What are *they* all about?" rather than asking "What are *we* all about, and what can we do to re-think it?"

Francia Dejasu - 9/10/2002

Aside from all the people who have developed phobias (of which there are many); aside from the airport security, and all the rest of the newly created security screenings; we have lost more than our naivity.
We have given our trust to a President and administration who are dismantling our rights as citizens in the name of patriotism.

Edward B Winslow - 9/10/2002

Not much has changed in the year since the terrorist attacks. SUV sales are breaking previous records. Corporations and elected officials are still corrupt. The Bush administration and the extreme rightwing that controls our government are still in a power-grab mode.

The only thing that has changed since Sept. 11 is that our civil liberties have eroded. Crackdowns on dissent have increased, and a lot of cheap flags made in foreign sweat shops have been sold.

Catherine Brabant - 9/10/2002

After the initial aftermath yes it changed us from sleepiness to waking up to the reality of the world. But at this point, no, we have not changed. I feel like I am watching a circus unfold before my eyes regarding the first anniversary of 9/11. We have been scared into not asking the critical questions or else be called unpatriotic. And now our selected president is trying to take us down a very dangerous road with a so called war with Iraq. Polls show support for invading Iraq until follow up questions ask what if we are there for a very long time or if there are heavy American deaths. Then support tanks for W's war. I pray daily for peace and not war.

Stuart Hobbs - 9/10/2002

I voted that Americans have not been changed by the events of Sept. 11.

The most striking thing I have noticed in recent weeks as the anniversary comes is that many people do talk about being changed, about being vaguely apprehensive, feeling less secure, and being aware for (apparently) the first time of dark forces out there.

As an historian, I ask-- what about the Cold War? Didn't many people feel anxious about nuclear war (Though I must say that the horrors of nuclear weapons and war is something that Ameiricans have long successfuly pushed back into the unconscious). For all the talk of Pearl Harbor a year ago, people are strangely ahistorical when talking about 9/11. The fire bombings of Dresden and Tokyo, the London Blitz, the Holocaust, the Somme, Sand Creek, Gettysburg--I used to think those events happened with horrible loss of life. Now it seems nothing with as many casualties or horror as Sept. 11 ever happened. Did I just dream the 30 Years War in a nightmare, or does anyone else out there know anything about it?

In conclusion, what I see and hear is a lack of historical perspective (even knowledge), and a great deal naivette, which does not seem to have been dispelled. Perhaps that is what is menat by "American Innoncence": a perpetual state of naivette.

s e shar - 9/10/2002

Change us - forever change us? No - yes now we are aware of
"alerts" and we were angry, shocked, hurt, and thought we
were changed
But here we are - not too interested in the anniversary and
back to FOX entertainment and the usual
Someone said, "Never UNDERestimate the taste of the American
people." Perhaps that could be said of any change from 9/11

Jo Ann McNamara - 9/10/2002

Before 9/11, the Bush gang were pursuing a subversive agenda to advance the interests of their wealthy cronies and destroy the remnants of the New Deal (not to mention the Bill of Rights). And even the majority of voters who elected Al Gore president were sitting back numbly letting them do it. Now that agenda has advanced to war on Iraq and very few people have even begun to stir themselves.

g b tramel - 9/10/2002

Oh yes, at first!
But now the flags are "form" with no substance; there is no
swelling desire to join the military; no call for sacrifice;
just back to the usual.
This remembrance of that day a year ago is too much

Murray A. Rubinstein - 9/10/2002

I think the only thing that really happened during the year was a greater sense of anxiety and wariness of government and the cynicism of the Bush dynasty, version II. Rather than build upn the good feelings and the sense of solidarity, the admin. sought to attempt to create a police state event if those "security apparatuses we have acted more like keystone cops that didnt talk to each other. And the negation of the constitution--as seen by acts of the "justice department" and the White House's legal staff as well as the administration's insensitivity to the victims of the other terrorist assault--by Enron and World Com exectitives on their employees and shareholders all suggests that the politics are the same mode is still in fashion in the heart of darkness that is the W. Bush administration.

The Rt. Rev. Jack E. Holman - 9/10/2002

No, we were not changed. We have, however, changed in that we have allowed Bush to trash the Constitution, shred our Bill of Rights....!

Check out the Sunday Herals for details on our supply biological weapens to Saddam, proven by released government documents.

Randi - 9/10/2002

This is not a yes/no question. I do think that there have been many broad pronouncements about how "we will never be the same" (paraphrase). We will, we are. At least in terms of our day to day lives. But surely for now, the memory is too vivid for anyone to say that our souls have not been touched and that our actions and decisions follow the same path they did prior to 911.

Micky J. Young - 9/10/2002

I believe some "people" were changed by the events of 9/11. Those who lost loved ones were changed. Some who, due to other circumstances in their lives, were ready for some type of change were changed. Peoples' trust in "Arab looking" individuals were changed. Many peoples' confidence in flight and foreign travel were changed. But the actual lifestyle and beliefs of most people were only "sidetracked" for a short time. Our preoccupation with the rediculous and the mundane has returned. Our blitz by the media of hype and liberal foolishness is back. Yes, we are once again "chasing our tails". We exert so much energy on things of so little importance, ourselves. The events of 9/11 took that focus off of "us" as individuals and placed it, albeit for a shot time, on "them", (others). For a little while we were compassionate for our brother. We were united as a nation in love for our fellow man. We followed our heart. For a breif moment we were allowed a glimps of what life should be and could be if it weren't for "I". That overwhelming urge to be selfish. That "Pavlovian" response inspired by every TV commercial we see today; seek ye first thy own satisfaction! You see, an event can't change people, an emotional response doesn't change people. A program, seminar or lecture can't change people. Only God can change people. The sooner we realize this the better our whole world will be. Instead of looking for ways to remove God from our lives our focus , as it was immediately following 9/11, must be to return to God as a people and a nation. Remove the focus from "me" and place the focus on "Him". Stop seeking self-satisfaction and seek to help and love our fellow man. Change? 9/11, it all it's awesomeness, didn't have the power to change us, only God does. (Jeremiah 29:11-13)

John P - 9/10/2002

No significant change in US at large. In NYC, probably some significant impact. Not at the Pentagon or surrounding area--they may be impervious to any sudden change. As to air travel, it's great: people don't drag horrendous overloads of carry-ons aboard now.

Now then, on the other hand, if the Cowboy Prez does solo us into a military attack on Iraq, results may be horrible enough to challenge the imagination.

Barry Jeshurin - 9/10/2002

Regrettably, not. George W. found his mantra because he lacked substance for any other venue. His response to 9/11 was scripted and predictable. He lacked true sympathy or empathy for the fate of his fellow man he had sworn to support. As a nation we failed because of his stilted leadership to understand why 9/11 was pivotal in the world outside our borders.

We allowed the saber-rattling as justifable and tolerated the myopia of the government to inhibit our rights as a way to "keep us down and the farm" and let the big boys in Washington handle the situation.We were strictly fed info on a need to know basis to let only the prescribed message get through.

The lack of creativity by our government to understand the causes of 9/11 and deal with it effectively I fear will lead to more incidents. It is true, more so than ever, the saying that patriotism is the last refuge of scoundrels.

I can only wish that one change occurs as a byproduct of 9/11 and that is the need to cast your ballot better yet an informed ballot on election day. A minor president with his eye solely on being re-elected rather than providing decisive leadership on issues of importance to the populace and not those of the alleged captains of industry and their elite class of patrons will surely set us back for a generation.

Chris Murphy - 9/10/2002

The rest of the world knew that nothing had changed, not even America. That loud noise we heard on 11 September 2001 was 500 million eyelids opening all at once. For a moment America caught sight of the outside world. Then, one by one, they began closing again.