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A Times Editorial

A day of loss

Terrorist attacks have shattered lives and our sense of security, but not our sense of values.

© St. Petersburg Times,
published September 11, 2001

The United States is at war. Our enemies have assaulted the symbols of our economic and military power, and the magnitude of the loss -- in human life, in economic devastation, in damage to the national psyche -- is almost beyond comprehension. Sept. 11, 2001, takes its place alongside Dec. 7, 1941, as the most evil dates in American history.

We are at war -- and yet the enemy is unseen and unknown for now. The shadowy savagery of the modern world can be even more frightening than the earlier era of known adversaries. While our government tracks down the enemy responsible for this act of war, the rest of us can do our part to seek out and reassure our friends and loved ones, so many of whom are in pain today.

Americans mourn for the thousands of fellow citizens whose lives were ripped apart by the coordinated acts of terrorism at the Pentagon and World Trade Center. We also mourn for our collective loss. Our sense of security, personally and as a nation, may never be the same.

At the same time, we will muster the will as a people to identify and punish those responsible for these acts of savagery, and to take all possible steps, consistent with our democratic values, to bolster our national security. As we struggle in the days and weeks to come to terms with our almost unimaginable loss, let us cling even more closely to the values for which the United States has long stood -- and which no enemy can destroy.

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