The Magazine

Year One

We didn't change, after all.

Sep 9, 2002, Vol. 7, No. 48 • By CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER
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The respite will not last if we simply look back with satisfaction on our initial resilience. The respite will not last if we see September 11 as just the anniversary of a tragedy, a remembrance of the fallen, a celebration of a day of courage. It was all that, of course. But it was much more. It was the opening salvo of the Great War of the 21st century, against an enemy as barbaric as any faced during the 20th.

This September 11 marks not just a day of infamy, but the close of Year One of that war. And to win it we will need to demonstrate--as we did in the other great wars of necessity--patience, endurance, determination, and a willingness to bear any burden.

That is a solemn calling, but it need not elicit grim solemnity. Success will require that both sides of the American character--the visible fluff and the (once) buried steel--remain in play. Last September 11, we thought that the one must banish the other. The great lesson, the great triumph, of Year One is that fury and grit did not drive out lightness and laughter. And a good thing too. To prevail in this long twilight struggle, we will need them all.

Charles Krauthammer is a contributing editor to The Weekly Standard.