- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 11, 2007

On the sixth anniversary of September 11, the nation may be unsure about the war in Iraq and vexed with Congress. But the visceral memory of the terrorist attacks has yet to fade among most Americans.

Four out of five of us — 81 percent — still say September 11, 2001, is the “most significant historical event of our lives,” according to a Zogby International poll released yesterday.

“In a day when American consumers are whiplashed with new ‘groundbreaking’ stories every few days, those attacks remain etched in the minds of adults nationwide: 61 percent said they think of that fateful day at least once a week, and 16 percent said they think of the attacks at least once every day,” the survey said.

There’s a regional divide — 77 percent of East Coast residents ponder the attacks at least once a week compared with 46 percent of those on the West Coast.

The country is united, however, in remembrance: 83 percent agreed that the nation should formally observe a moment of silence or visit a memorial to honor victims.

The lingering effect of September 11 is felt elsewhere. The Dubai-based newspaper Gulf News has asked its readers to share their experiences, specifically inquiring if they left the United States after the attacks “seeking a more tolerant atmosphere to bring up your family or as a result of being victimized.”

Though there have been political and cultural disagreements over the redevelopment of the former World Trade Center site, local memorials to September 11 have proliferated quietly almost nonstop in recent years.

The U.S. Forest Service, for example, maintains an ongoing roster of gardens, groves and other official “living memorials” across the country. There are now 667 sites in all 50 states, with 57 more due by year’s end.

Public mourning has taken on a new tone, too. Last week, President Bush issued a proclamation renaming September 11 as “Patriot Day,” also suggesting Americans volunteer their services as a way to commemorate victims.

While hundreds of churches across the nation will offer special September 11 services today, the “Blue Mass” — named in honor of the blue uniforms of many first responders — has become a fixture in many Catholic parishes.

For the Solemn High Blue Mass this morning at St. Martin de Porres Catholic Church in Jensen Beach, Fla., the Rev. James E. Molgano has invited county firefighters, police officers and emergency workers, as well as federal, state and local officials to attend.

“We continue to pray for peace, protection from evil, and for the men and women who give in service each day in defense of freedom,” he said yesterday. “We must never forget those who have fallen.”

Meanwhile, almost all of us — 91 percent — think the United States will be attacked again on American soil, the Zogby poll finds. Six in 10, however, said the country is now better prepared for such an event.

The survey of 938 adults was conducted Sept. 6-9 and has a margin of error of 3 percentage points.

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