Our correspondence began…”My father, a war correspondent, was covering the 9/11 attacks when they happened. I was only 11. I remember everything clearly.”  The discussions that Ms. Tsakiri and I have been having over the past few months have been enlightening to say the least. Since their inception, I have garnered a different understanding of the way that U.S. actions/inactions are perceived. For example, Ms. Tsakiri wrote in an email to myself, “In Greece some people thought that the attack was organised from the US government but the majority of people felt very bad and sympathetic.” This point brought to my attention the disparity between the way Americans view their governments and the way that other non-citizens view the United States. Ms. Tsakiri’s statement illustrates a perfectly valid point; our relentless faith in our country’s leadership might, in fact, be confounded.

In regards to her previous statement, Mrs. Tsakiri went on to say, “When Americans have done so many awful things in wars, they should expect a reaction like that. Of course I am against violence especially when we are talking about terrorism and the victims are innocent people, but you should have seen it coming.” Indeed, Americans should have seen the attacks coming. How long could our population continue to live in blind arrogance without expecting an attack? Pearl Harbor, The 1993 WTC bombings, and Oklahoma served as unfortunate reminders that the notion of absolute security is illusory. We have committed abhorrent atrocities under the guise of “preserving freedom,” yet we choose to disbelieve that those individuals wronged by our actions would seek retribution. Ms. Tsakiri’s statement reminds us that just because a country can alter its own self-conception, does not mean that we can change the way we are perceived by other countries. I’m sure that Ms. Tsakiri would agree with me when I say that the era of blind ignorance is over. The United States can no longer hide behind a wall of false-security. Vulnerability has pronounced itself here to stay. We can only hope that we will respond to future attacks pragmatically. That will be the true test of the modern era.