- The Washington Times - Friday, September 6, 2002

America remains steadfast as the September 11 anniversary approaches, large in spirit but not heavy at heart.
A new poll from the Pew Research Center finds the date has become a visceral part of the national psyche: 97 percent of us remember exactly what we were doing when we first got word of the attacks almost a year ago rating it more memorable than the assassination of President Kennedy, the death of Princess Diana, the attack on Pearl Harbor and other pivotal moments.
Eighty percent said the attacks had a huge effect on the nation, with half saying it would bring major change to the country. Nevertheless, life has continued: only 38 percent nationwide said their personal lives had been overwhelmed; just 16 percent said it led to major "personal" change.
More than two-thirds said the attacks had "widespread emotional impact." But Americans are not awash in pity or quaking with fear.
The poll found that feelings for home and country were paramount: 62 percent said they often felt patriotic. There were some political ramifications here, however. Down party lines, 74 percent of Republicans said they were patriotic, compared with 61 percent of Democrats and 53 percent of independents.
Meanwhile, 49 percent of the respondents had spiritual feelings, 31 percent described themselves as angry, just under a quarter felt sad, 23 percent were suspicious, 12 percent were scared and 10 percent were depressed. Only 4 percent conceded they still had trouble sleeping at night.
While women are more likely to report emotional reactions, the poll found they were just as likely as men to remain angry about the attacks.
Though 42 percent of Americans said they were tending to "stay closer to home" these days, September has not inspired profound changes in other activities. Twenty-four percent said they handled the mail differently, and 15 percent said they avoided crowded places or certain cities.
Eleven percent said they were storing up extra food and water. Among parents, 35 percent said they had made some emergency plans.
Americans have specific feelings about their heroes, as well.
Thirty-seven percent cited firemen, police and rescue workers as "the most inspirational on 9/11," while 14 percent cited President Bush, followed by "all Americans" (11 percent), Rudolph W. Giuliani (10 percent), passengers on Flight 93 (6 percent), victims and families (2 percent), New Yorkers (2 percent), the military (2 percent) and volunteers (1 percent.)
A year later, the poll also found Americans to be more supportive of their military: 71 percent favor "military action in Iraq," with two-thirds saying that the war on terrorism is going at least fairly well.
Citizens are not living in fear, however. Only 12 percent say they are "very concerned" that they will become victims of terrorism. Fifty-four percent said that if there was an attack, it would be by Islamic terrorists already in the country, with 40 percent saying it would be a chemical or biological strike.


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