When a man-made disaster of unfathomable scope strikes your city and its central symbol of prosperity has been leveled to ruin — and it's your job to jolt it into resurgence — where do you begin?

Only hours had passed after the planes struck New York City's twin towers on Sept. 11, 2001, when then-Mayor Rudy Giuliani made a promise to rebuild: "We're not only going to rebuild, we're going to come out of this stronger than we were before."

For many of us, Sept. 11, 2001, is one of those touchstone dates — we remember exactly where we were when we heard that the planes hit the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. I was in Afghanistan.

I'd arrived in Kabul on Sept. 9 to cover the trial of eight foreign aid workers who had been arrested by the Taliban regime, which accused them of preaching Christianity to Afghans. Proselytizing was a death penalty crime, and two Americans were among the accused.

Today in the skies over New Mexico, Air Force students are practicing for the kill.

They sit at terminals at Holloman Air Force base, watching grainy images from a drone video feed. Thousands of feet below, at a desert training range, role players portray civilians and fighters inside a village. The students must find the proper target, then with a push of a button, they unleash a simulated airstrike.

Fifteen years after the attacks of Sept. 11, Americans have grown aware not only of the danger of terrorism but also of the reality that their nation is far less white, Christian and European than it used to be.

"Culturally, we're a country of Bollywood and bhangra and tai chi and yoga and salsa and burritos and halal and kosher," says Diana Eck, professor of comparative religion at Harvard University and author of A New Religious America.

Congress on Friday released the "28 pages," a previously classified document that examined possible connections between the Saudi government and the Sept. 11 hijackers.

The document — which actually contains 29 pages — had taken on a life of its own, prompting frequent speculation about its contents, though only a limited number of government officials had been allowed to read it.

Bretagne, a 16-year-old golden retriever and the last known remaining Sept. 11 search dog, was euthanized Monday in Texas.


Police say a piece of landing gear believed to be from one of the planes destroyed in the Sept. 11 attacks has been discovered wedged between two New York City buildings.

New York Police Department spokesman Paul Browne said Friday the part includes a clearly visible Boeing identification number. Police haven't said how big the part is.

Gerry Hadden

Any dedicated public radio listener has probably wondered what it's like to be a foreign correspondent for NPR. Reporter Gerry Hadden gives us a glimpse into that world in his memoir, Never the Hope Itself.

Dec. 24, 1998 file photo / Associated Press

A small team of Americans killed Osama bin Laden, the mastermind behind the Sept. 11 attacks, in a firefight Sunday at a compound in Pakistan, President Obama said in a dramatic late-night statement at the White House.

A jubilant crowd gathered outside the White House as word spread. of bin Laden's death after a global manhunt that lasted nearly a decade.

"Justice has been done," Obama said.