10 years later

Three views of 9/11 and its aftermath

The events of Sept. 11, 2001, are seared into the minds of all Americans who were old enough to appreciate them at the time. We remember where we were and what we were doing that day. We watched the tragedy unfold and then saw it repeated, over and over and over. Who among us will ever forget the sight of bodies falling from the burning towers?

The world pivoted that day, and we haven’t been the same since—as a nation and as people. We’re still struggling to make sense of what happened, and to understand why we responded as we did. The 10th anniversary of 9/11 is a good time not only to look back at the events of 9/11, but also to examine their consequences.

The three stories in this special section do just that. The first, “An American blindness,” is longtime activist, politician and writer Tom Hayden’s examination of how 9/11 led to the doctrine of the “Long War” and how the United States might finally find its way to peace. The second, “Unforgettable,” is Chico native Emily Brannen’s vivid account of what it was like to be in Lower Manhattan when the airliners hit the towers. And the third is Jaime O’Neill’s piquant essay evoking “The summer before everything changed.”

We hope you find these essays meaningful and helpful in your own effort to understand 9/11 and all that has ensued since.