As Americans, we suffer - and stand proudly - as one.
Stunningly, one of the nation's highest-profile religious leaders has trampled on that spirit. In televised remarks last week, the Rev. Jerry Falwell singled out a segment of Americans, blaming them for incurring God's anger and causing the attack.
Quoth Falwell: "The abortionists have got to bear some burden for this because God will not be mocked. And when we destroy 40 million little innocent babies, we make God mad. I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, and the ACLU, People for the American Way - all of them who have tried to secularize America - I point the finger in their face and say, "You helped this happen.' "
Standing beside him during the 700 Club telecast, the Rev. Pat Robertson concurred. . . . In essence, Falwell expressed theological kinship with prime terrorist suspect and Islamic fundamentalist Osama bin Laden. The attack was "a punishment from Allah," bin Laden has said through an aide.
Falwell's pallid apology - in which he lamely complained about being quoted out of context - is not enough. His divisive comments will not soon be forgotten.