9/11 -- St. Petersburg Times Special Report

Sunday, Sept. 1
  • Florida: Terror's launching pad
  • The 19 plotters and their day of terror
  • Remembering

    Monday, Sept. 2
  • When tragedy meets capitalism
  • '9/11 fatigue' is natural, mental health experts say

    Tuesday, Sept. 3
  • Coping as a kid
  • Eric Deggans: 9/11 documentary asks troubling questions about religion
  • Sept. 11 photograph exhibit opens

    Wednesday, Sept. 4
  • Millions in new funding don't guarantee security
  • Donations to local charities slow in months after attacks
  • Sept. 11 donations swamp charities
  • Bush to visit three attack sites on 9/11

    Thursday, Sept. 5
  • Attack anniversary is living history lesson
  • Trading fallback system improved
  • Future of site still beset by debate

    Friday, Sept. 6
  • Senate approves plan to allow armed pilots
  • Dream job becoming demoralizing
  • New plane doors would withstand gunfire
  • What ever happened to ... Those patriotic paint jobs?
  • The other 911
  • Consolidated for the cause

    Saturday, Sept. 7
  • In chaos, TIA tower controlled 9/11 skies
  • Congress, N.Y. reaffirm solidarity
  • Traveling can be nicer in rougher countries
  • For TIA workers, 'normal' not what it used to be
  • Airlines don't see relief over horizon
  • Terror only one blow to tourism
  • A year later, it's the home fires that burn brightly
  • Flying the flag

    Sunday, Sept. 8
  • 125 Cedar Street
  • The drama in Sarasota
  • Cautious, yes, but still traveling
  • As security increases, fervor fades
  • Rising risks
  • Finding lessons in rubble of tragedy
  • Public loss, private grief
  • Duty calls; he goes; they wait
  • Riled residents show true colors
  • Keeping her distance
  • Which way leads up?
  • For the record
  • 45 Questions
  • A lexicon of terror, post-9/11
  • Before attacks, this was the news
  • Other events on Sept. 11
  • Voice mail delivers, retains final words
  • Keeping us rolling
  • 9.11
  • How we'll view it

    Monday, Sept. 9
  • The residue of terror
  • Patriotism is more than emotion
  • What ever happened to . . .: Our religious fervor?
  • The nightmares return
  • Life has the right-of-way
  • Free to disagree
  • 'Time has not healed the pain'
  • Deputies to step up patrol for anniversary
  • Security upgrade since 9/11 slow, steady
  • Enthusiasm for PHCC's security classes dissipates
  • Teachers untangle Sept. 11 lessons
  • A bumpy year for business
  • The man who would have led Afghanistan
  • People who made the headlines

    Tuesday, Sept. 10
  • Multitude to gather to wave U.S. flags
  • Pictures evoke profound feelings
  • Attacks haven't boosted sales of cell phones
  • Schools discover ways to reflect on attacks
  • Flags still wave, but sales fall from peak
  • Three fathers lost
  • Telemarketers easing up on 9/11
  • Nuclear plant adds security layers to prevent terrorism
  • Cough, stress hinder emergency workers
  • Families of missing sit in limbo
  • Places of importance after the attacks

    Wednesday, Sept. 11
  • Remembrance and renewal
  • Flags Along the Bayshore: Tampa Remembers 9/11
  • Ways of remembering
  • A piece of paper . a blue and white truck
  • Is America ready for another attack?
  • Nation to honor victims in silence
  • Poll: Compassion remains
  • The war so far
  • Terror update
  • Attack on Iraq would test headquarters at MacDill
  • 09-11-01 Perspectives
  • Those who died in the attacks
  • Myriad rescue agencies trust their link won't fail
  • Photo gallery
  • (This Flash gallery requires the free Flash Player 5+.)

    Thursday, Sept. 12
  • Emotional service honors those who died selflessly
  • Elements of pride
  • Echo of 9/11 empties airport
  • A day full of tributes, flags and questions
  • Prayer, fellowship pull many through agonizing anniversary
  • Tributes great and small
  • Children in a changed world pause to reflect
  • Citrus recalls 9/11 with its heart
  • Marking the imponderable
  • Ministers assure that God was there that sorrowful day
  • Chime recalls a nation's losses
  • For law officers, day passes quietly
  • Residents gather to heal, remember
  • In big and small ways, our community pays tribute
  • Cities somberly mark Sept. 11
  • Patriotic display greets drivers
  • Day of grief, resolve
  • At county schools, remembrance resounds
  • Travel lags on attacks' anniversary
  • They were us
  • Americans worldwide cautious on anniversary
  • Radical Muslims discuss 'positive outcomes' of Sept. 11
  • Amid grief, Bush gives warning

  • printer version

    09-11-01
    PATRIOTISM

    More than just emotion

    Shared ideals unified us after Sept. 11; misplaced zeal cannot be permitted to splinter commitment to those ideals.

    By ABDULLAH AL-ARIAN
    © St. Petersburg Times
    published September 9, 2002


    photo
    Abdullah Al-Arian

    The concept itself had not been all that observable before that fateful hour. American flags rarely were hung outside apartment windows or stuck to car doors. The national anthem was reserved for special events, and other nationalistic songs were seldom heard. Essentially, American patriotism lay in a healthy and impervious repose until its rude awakening one morning in September.

    Since then, it has experienced a number of transformations, ultimately yielding to the will of a powerful and vindictive few.

    The sights and sounds of that horrific day are unforgettable. We witnessed a nation coming together, first to aid the victims and then to begin our collective healing. Blood, sweat and tears were all literally given to that end. That was patriotism.

    We observed the spread of tolerance toward those in our society who were the potential, and at times actual, targets of anger gone awry. A kind word of support to America's Muslims became commonplace, from the nation's leaders down to co-workers and neighbors. That was patriotism.

    We watched as the resounding cry for justice for the victims was heard. A nation stood in solidarity as military action was taken against the perpetrators of that atrocious act. That was patriotism. Notwithstanding, some Americans favored a response by our government that did not involve further destruction and bloodshed. That, too, was patriotism.

    Terror: The residue of terror
    Its swift, sudden onslaught freezes the will; its lingering shades darken the imagination.

    Patriotism: More than just emotion
    Shared ideals unified us after Sept. 11; misplaced zeal cannot be permitted to splinter commitment to those ideals.

    Security: The nightmares return
    "I thought I was through having nightmares about that case," Pat Johnson says.

    Spirituality: Life has the right-of-way
    Last Sept. 11, a Tampa boy's bar mitzvah was days away. A teaching from the Talmud helped him and his family decide to go ahead with their celebration.

    Heroism: Free to disagree
    Americans appreciate their freedoms more than before -- including the right to protest.

    Somewhere along the course, however, those sentiments were hijacked by some in this country whose idea of patriotism is an intellectual cleansing of sorts.

    When my father, University of South Florida professor Sami Al-Arian, was invited to speak on Fox's O'Reilly Factor, he was told it was to discuss the American-Muslim community's response to our national tragedy. What actually took place was the reairing of decades-old, groundless allegations -- what a federal judge had already thrown out of court. What Bill O'Reilly did was seize upon the public's heightened anxieties to debase and silence someone he disagreed with politically.

    USF president Judy Genshaft followed suit when she moved to dismiss a tenured professor. While the whole country had collectively chanted that it would never bow to terror, Genshaft said that it was the subsequent death threats to the professor that prompted her actions.

    Nevertheless, the ax of patriotism fell not on these threatmakers, but ironically enough, on one who had carried out his duty to his adopted homeland. My father, having always instilled in me the American values of freedom and equality, truth and justice, taught me to stand up for what is right, no matter how difficult it may seem. That is patriotism.

    He acted on those beliefs when he donated blood to the victims in New York and gathered funds from our community to aid in the recovery. He has continued to lead efforts to bring together members of all three major faith communities, especially during a time of national crisis. That is patriotism.

    When the civil liberties climate turned bleak, he mobilized a national effort to uphold the Constitution, lobbying members of Congress and campaigning for politicians, all to restore the rights enjoyed by all Americans. Certainly, that is patriotism. He exercised his freedom by continuing to voice his opinions regarding the treatment of Palestinians by Israel, no matter how unpopular those views may be. That, too, is patriotism.

    Indeed, it was not until after that portentous day in September that my father's character was so appallingly maligned. Yet another bitter irony: It is that same nightmare to us all, namely terrorism, that he stands accused of in the court of public opinion.

    Simply put, if it wasn't for Sept. 11, there would have been no Barnyard Bill and his zoo of unfounded accusations. There would be no Jaded Judy and her urge to fire. For it was only after those planes were disastrously hijacked that our own collective sense of patriotism could suffer a similar fate.

    Abraham Lincoln once said, "America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves." Sadly enough, this year has proven these words alarmingly accurate. I rest assured, however, that no matter how we may falter, our better sensibilities, and ultimately, we as a nation, will prevail. And that is the essence of patriotism.

    - Abdullah Al-Arian, 22, was born in Durham, N.C., and reared in Tampa. He graduated from Duke University in May 2002.


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    Related coverage
  • The residue of terror
  • Patriotism is more than emotion
  • What ever happened to . . .: Our religious fervor?
  • The nightmares return
  • Life has the right-of-way
  • Free to disagree
  • 'Time has not healed the pain'
  • Deputies to step up patrol for anniversary
  • Security upgrade since 9/11 slow, steady
  • Enthusiasm for PHCC's security classes dissipates
  • Teachers untangle Sept. 11 lessons
  • A bumpy year for business
  • The man who would have led Afghanistan
  • People who made the headlines