I remember, too, the brief period of political unity that followed. With the horrors of that day so fresh in everyone's mind, there was little disagreement that we were, in fact, at war. We knew that this would be a war like no other, one without geo-political boundaries or even a clearly defined end.
But predictably, that didn't last long. As the Bush administration responded first in Afghanistan and then in Iraq, the Left saw political opportunity in the president's handling of the ineptly-named "War on Terror". Outside of Afghanistan, everything Bush did was wrong in their eyes. Iraq? Wrong. Gitmo? Wrong. Intercepts of calls placed to terror suspects overseas? Wrong. Just two years after 9/11, Lefty icon Michael Moore told his fans "there is no terrorist threat". Everything was framed by the Left as an indictment of George W. Bush's evil intentions around the world.
So here we are, nine years later and 20 months into Barack Obama's presidency. The Obama administration is desperately trying to return to the pre-9/11 school of thought, treating global Islamist terrorism as a simple law enforcement matter. With each new attempt by radical Islamists to commit mass murder of Americans (last Christmas Day's attempted knickerbomber, the failed Times Square bombing, the too-successful Ft. Hood shootings), we're assured by our betters on the Left that these are just lone nutcases. They're not really representative of Islam. It's all cool now. As for Afghanistan - the theater of operations the Left considered far too important to divert resources to Iraq - well, never mind that now. Let's just leave Afghanistan to the tender mercies of the Taliban and al Qaeda.
A dark running joke following 9/11 went something like this: "Why did radical Muslims kill 3,000 Americans? Because they couldn't kill all 300 million of us." Never forget that if they could, they would.