The dust and debris have long ago been cleared from the site where once stood the Twin Towers. In their place, great gleaming spires now stand. It has been nearly one year since the 1,776-foot tall One World Trade Center began accepting new tenants and almost 18 months since the memorial to the attacks opened to the public. At the Pentagon, the damage wrought by attackers was fully repaired, and the outermost ring of offices was occupied again exactly one year after a plane struck the south façade. A memorial to the dead in Washington D.C. was complete before George W. Bush even left office. On September 10 of this year, 152 years after the battle of Gettysburg, another empty field in Pennsylvania was solemnly consecrated when a memorial dedicated to the Americans who lost their lives in combat against an enemy of the Republic belatedly began accepting visitors. Americans thought that they had fully reconciled the September 11th attacks, but the specters of that terrible day still haunt our memories as they haunt our politics.
The wounds have not fully healed, and the current debates roiling both American political parties reflect that.