January 14


You expected they would strike on one of our important holidays: during the patriotic celebrations of the 4th of July; during the sacred observances of Easter or Christmas, or the family gatherings of Thanksgiving.

Instead, they strike on one of their own sacred days. Your government had never given credence to their religion, certainly never understood the significance of a religious day that didn’t correlate, at least on some rational level, with any of our Western traditions.

Indeed, there were too many syllables in the day’s name, too many strange combinations of letters and accent marks.  None of us could be expected to pronounce it accurately.

Bombs strapped to people and cars and trucks and trains all seemed to explode at once. Buildings toppled. In small towns, skies blackened with rising smoke.

When you thought it was over, more explosions followed.

Along with a handful of other survivors, you’ve now learned the name for today.  You can pronounce it with a slow accuracy brought about by fear and incalculable loss.