Today is the eleventh day of September. Or, as US English puts it, September 11. It was on this day nine years ago that a terrorist franchise effectively declared war on the United States by hijacking four commercial aircraft and flying three of them into targets in New York and Washington DC.
And so today, citizens of the USA, and especially those in New York, where the World Trade Center was destroyed with the loss of three thousand lives, will commemorate the event. Many around the world will think of them, and will also remember the effect it all had on their own lives.
Sadly, the event is this year overshadowed by unease stoked by anti-Muslim rhetoric and slanted coverage by parts of the media. The otherwise inexplicable overreaction to the Islamic centre proposed for the site of the former Burlington Coat Factory in Park Place is typical of the suddenly intolerant stance of some people.
This was addressed today in his weekly radio address by Barack Obama, a Christian and US-born President – just to point out two facts to those who have been maliciously attempting to suggest otherwise – when he said “We do not allow ourselves to be defined by fear”. That echoes the inaugural address of Franklin Roosevelt, another President who, like Obama, was smeared as socialist and even communist by opponents who ought to have known better.
Let us remember September 11, those who died, and those who are trying, in the face of mindless hostility, to govern the United States at this most difficult of economic times.