by Ken Sehested
Among the first questions I heard on the epochal date of September 11, 2001, was that of my good friend’s third-grader: “Papa, are we safe here?” Emily had just returned from school in the small East Texas town where I was visiting.
By now the most turbulent emotions of that infamous rupture have yielded to the daily demands of groceries to buy, laundry piling up, calendars to keep. And children to attend, even more so now, according to demographers who report an upturn in birthrates, as if last September’s devastation triggered not just emotional but biological urges to connect, to repair the breach of life, tikkun olam (“repair of the world,” in Judaism’s rabbinic tradition). But the deeply affective question “are we safe?” continues to roil just beneath the surface.
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