What came after 9/11: fight or flight
America's response to the attack 20 years ago left lasting results
Did our response to 9/11 hurt us more than the attack itself? (Photo by Magnus Olsson on Unsplash)
Home is less than three hours north of New York City, but it wasn’t until long after the 9/11 attacks — after the air had cleared and the site of the World Trade Center had been cleaned up — that we finally made our way back to Lower Manhattan. We wanted our daughter, then in elementary school, to visit the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, so one sunny Saturday we boarded a ferry on the southern tip of Manhattan.
As the boat pulled away from the dock, a hush settled over the small group on the deck. Looking around, I realized that we had all stood and, turning our gaze back toward the city, were staring at the empty space where more than 2,600 people had perished on another bright autumn morning.
We’ve all had many occasions since then to reflect on how 9/11 changed us. It’s not that the United States hadn’t been drawn into war before, or that many events hadn’t cost even more American l…