The Great Debate

Rebuilding America

By Stephen Flynn and Eddie Rosenstein
The opinions expressed are their own.

In the ten years since 9/11, the nation’s response to the terrorist attacks on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon have been dissected and debated constantly. But one thing that hasn’t received enough attention is the effort we have taken in the intervening years to build a stronger, more resilient America for future generations.

As former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said in Washington at the 9/11 Tenth Anniversary Summit on September 8, 2011, “Our primary purpose today must be to look forward. [While] the perpetrators of 9/11 were obsessed with events that took place in the past, Americans always look to the future.”

Periodically, things will go very wrong. Risk and danger are inescapable facts of life. Resilience — a concept that has always defined America in times of crisis — applies not only to our response to terrorism but in our individual responses to crises large and small in our lives and in our communities.

We can be prepared, we can minimize the consequences when disaster strikes, and we can be ready to bounce back quickly whenever we are faced with catastrophes — both natural and manmade.

It is that desire to rebuild a stronger more resilient America that has shaped how we have picked ourselves up and moved forward when faced with adversity since the founding of America generations ago. That same desire also influenced our response to the 9/11 attacks.

from Katharine Herrup:

Boatlifters: The unknown story of 9/11

By Katharine Herrup
The opinions expressed are her own.

Much has been written and said about September 11, 2001, on the occasion of its 10th anniversary, but one story much less known is the one about the band of boats that came together to rescue nearly 500,000 New Yorkers from the World Trade Center site on the day the towers collapsed.

It was the largest boatlift ever to have happened – greater than the one at Dunkirk during World War II. Yet somehow a story of such large scale became lost in all the rubble. But a new 10-minute documentary called Boatlift by Eddie Rosenstein captures the boat evacuations that happened on 9/11. The film is part of four new short documentaries that were created for the 9/11 Tenth Anniversary Summit in Washington, D.C.

“Boats, usually an afterthought in most New Yorkers minds, were, for the first time in over a century, the only way in or out of lower Manhattan,” says Tom Hanks, the narrator of the film.