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Hope Was Also Born on 9/11

September 07, 2002

I am a mom of a Sept. 11, 2001, baby. My son will celebrate his first year of life while the rest of America mourns for those whose lives were lost on such a tragic day. He has brought so much love and happiness to our family, but the shadow of the events surrounding his birth are a daily part of our lives and are always in our thoughts and will follow Grant for the rest of his life.

I feel that amid so much tragedy, pain and loss I was blessed with the gift of life, and I see my son for the true wonder that is the mystery of birth. We cannot, however, separate the loss from the joy; everywhere we turn there is a reminder of the Sept. 11 attack. Strangers always react the same way when they hear when Grant was born: "Oooh no, I'm so sorry!" His life will always be linked with this historic tragedy.

I will, in time, teach Grant about what occurred on the day he was born; I am sure he will also learn about it in history books. I will make sure that I explain to him that he was a miracle, a sparkle of life amid so much pain and sorrow, and as such will always be loved in a very special way. He was born with a special responsibility: to fight for his right to life and freedom. With life there is hope, and with hope mankind can build a better future and bring together all nations for the supreme purpose of freedom, in all its glory. I celebrate Grant's life but also acknowledge that we must always remember the events surrounding his birth; to forget or to ignore this would be a bigger tragedy in itself.

Olga Graden

Aliso Viejo

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A letter writer suggests that we fly our flags during the week of Sept. 11 to honor those lost and the firefighters (Sept. 2). I will certainly be flying my flag, as I do every day, but it will be to honor those young men and women in the armed services who appear to be forgotten. When I read of the astronomical sums those "victims" are receiving or will receive, my blood boils. I know what the families of the military receive in death benefits, and no one seems to see or care about the inequity of this. I will think every morning of those young people putting their lives on the line for an ungrateful nation that accepts their sacrifices as its due.

Pauline M. Doane

San Diego

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Reading Norah Vincent's Aug. 29 commentary, "The World's Different, and So Are We," I laughed, because I truly believed she was being facetious; then I remembered she is not a satirist. "Deep down we all did it [made changes in our lives] because we knew that it might have been us in those towers"? Please.

To be sure, many new and strange things have happened since Sept. 11. For example, I took up running. Why? Because my doctor told me for the second year in a row that my cholesterol level was elevated. My wife got a nice raise at work. Because her boss was shocked by 3,000 deaths in New York? No, because she's a fine employee. South Korea made it to the semifinals of the World Cup, far surpassing expectations. One would be challenged to draw a connection there.

With due respect to the victims of the terrorist attacks, for a great many people, the world has not fundamentally changed. Irony is not dead. Famine in the Third World has not ended. And some aspects of the American mentality--its overblown exceptionalism, its reluctance to admit any culpability in the troubles of the world--have only gotten worse.

Stefan Frazier

Los Angeles

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Re "Let Genius Soar Above Tragedy," Commentary, Aug. 28: "Banish the bland: New York monument calls for greatness"--I wholeheartedly agree. Why not build the world's largest multidenominational religious facility: a United Nations of Faith, a structure of monolithic significance housing worship facilities of every religion. Include a large gathering hall where speeches and discourse may be had on faith, belief, worship, religious law and philosophy. It could house offices for differing religious groups. It would be a living memorial with thousands of employees and dignitaries, a center of learning and place of pilgrimage.

The world's worst battles have been based around faith. The twin towers were felled in religious fervor. It would be fundamentally American to encourage international discourse on this subject on the site of this most terrible religious atrocity. Let our American memorial be a world-renowned facility for the peaceful exchange of religious ideas and a giant step forward in healing the rifts of faith that are tearing our world apart.

Erick Weiss

Los Angeles

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