September 11, 2011
Here’s a picture by my cousin-in-law Brad Rubenstein, from his apartment that day. You might also want to read this piece by James Lileks.
And here’s a passage from Lee Harris’s Civilization And Its Enemies.
Forgetfulness occurs when those who have been long inured to civilized order can no longer remember a time in which they had to wonder whether their crops would grow to maturity without being stolen or their children sold into slavery by a victorious foe.
They forget that in time of danger, in the face of the Enemy, they must trust and confide in each other, or perish.
They forget, in short, that there has ever been a category of human experience called the Enemy. And that, before 9/11, was what had happened to us. The very concept of the Enemy had been banished from our moral and political vocabulary. An enemy was just a friend we hadn’t done enough for — yet. Or perhaps there had been a misunderstanding, or an oversight on our part — something that we could correct. And this means that that our first task is that we must try to grasp what the concept of the Enemy really means.
The Enemy is someone who is willing to die in order to kill you. And while it is true that the Enemy always hates us for a reason — it is his reason, and not ours.
I’ve mentioned it before, but it bears repeating today.
You should also watch this memorial, made shortly after the attacks. It’s still quite powerful.
UPDATE: Reader Jim Vinoski recommends this 9/11 column from John Derbyshire. “This is civilization versus barbarism.”