At first, it seemed callous for anyone to suggest that shopping or dining nearby ground zero could celebrate the memory of those who had worked there, but the commercial renaissance on the streets nearby is amazing. (The terrorists should gag on their bile.) Some shops, stores and offices closed and their owners fled to places where they felt safer, but the vacancy rate in the neighborhood today is among the lowest anywhere. Sales of apartments have increased over 150 percent, Economist magazine reports, and six new schools testify to the wave of young families moving in, many with children too young to remember what happened there 10 years ago.
Sept. 11, 2001, is a date like Dec. 7, 1941, to "live in infamy," in FDR's famous formulation; the date supplies a "teaching moment" for this generation's Pearl Harbor. Millions are angry over the government's overreaching, its overspending and over-stimulating, but the government has done some things right since 9/11.
It has kept us safe for 10 years from an enemy that is still out there waiting to strike again. Terrorists have been foiled and intelligence links have been forged with foreign governments dealing, sometimes reluctantly, with threats against their own people. Osama bin Laden sleeps with the fishes, and many who conspired with him are dead and gone. Only the other day, the Pakistani military, working on a tip from the CIA, arrested a terrorist leader believed to have been plotting against new targets in the West.
Good sense, some of it reluctantly employed, has prevailed against the naive notions of the weak and unwary. President Obama, despite a foolish campaign promise, did not close Guantanamo Bay after all. Under the pressure of reality, he finally decided against a civilian trial in Manhattan for captured al-Qaida terrorists. We should give thanks for education better late than never.
The social networks supply a wealth of up-to-date details of what's going on around us -- the war behind the scenes goes mostly unreported. The absence, so far, of new dates to live in infamy suggest the war is being waged effectively, even if we're no longer supposed to call it a war.
Those who died on 9/11 did not die in vain. The replanted pear tree was only 8 feet tall when it was found in the rubble of ground zero. Now it towers more than 35 feet above the site of tragedy, reaching with leafy arms for the sun.