SEPTEMBER 15, 2001

I haven’t written today because this is surely a time for prayer not argument. But let me share a report from a small gathering in a small town on the edge of America. Just before 7pm tonight, as people made their way to the center of town, the rain cleared and an enormous rainbow stretched across the bay. People came out of houses and stores and looked upward. And then as we gathered around Provincetown’s monument, and friends arrived from New York, their eyes and faces seared with fear, a welling low sound came from the crowd. With no instruction, we started singing the Star Spangled Banner. Candles were lit and placed around the base of the iron plaque at the base of the monument. And then I realized for the first time the symbolism of where we were. This was the Pilgrim Monument. This is where it all began, where the first pilgrims arrived before moving on to Plymouth. This deeply diverse place – with its fishermen and store-owners, contractors and poets, gays and lesbians and families and children – stood undemonstratively together in grief and resolve. We shall overcome, we sang, the lyrics of the civil rights movement blending with the stirring patriotism of the centuries before in a strangely integrating chorus. Yes, I thought to myself. We shall overcome.

COMING SOON: My two recent essays for the Times of London and the New York Times Magazine will be posted here simultaneously with their appearance on the web pages of those publications.