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A call from Japan


The call came to the office about 8:30 Tuesday morning from our 22-year-old daughter, a recent college grad who is teaching English in Japan.

"Mom, what's going on? What do you know for sure?"

What could I say? The news was unspeakable. Four planes ... coordinated attack ... 50,000 people in those buildings ... yes, the Pentagon, too.

Then she asked the more difficult question -- why?

We spoke briefly of potential suspects, terrorist groups, fervent young individuals willing to blow themselves up for a cause. How hard is it to find four such passionate people and to train them for such a suicide mission? It's not a new concept, I told her. Ask your Japanese friends about the kamikaze.

The rest of the day those of us here at the Journal office -- like millions of others Americans -- tried to finish our work with an ear or an eye on the electronic media for any new information. Incredulity turned to numbness as the day wore on. This heinous crime ... an avalanche of debris ... tremendous loss of life ... F-15s patrolling the sky over New York ... undeclared act of war ... violated ... a man and a woman holding hands leaping to their certain death from more than 80 stories up ...

But the last question my daughter asked that morning, just before we got off the phone, wouldn't leave my mind:

"Will this be a day I will always remember?"

I said yes, our own day of infamy -- Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001.



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