On Sept. 11, 2001, these two towers stood tall and stoic, dominant features of the New York City skyline. At 8:48 am, an American Airlines jet liner, Flight 11 on its way from Boston to Los Angeles, swooped like a bird over the city, colliding with the north tower. But a simple pigeon—even loaded with jet fuel—does not burst into flames on impact.

A second plane crashed into the south tower minutes later, but it was not until a third plane crashed into the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. that the country was forced to realize the inevitable:

The United States was under Attack.

The country panicked. All air traffic was grounded. Schools and universities
closed—sending students home early. Those who were near a television did not so much as blink, fearing they might miss an important update or news of another attack.

Later that evening, President George W. Bush, after cowering in secret locations for hours, addressed the nation. By that time, the departments of State and Justice had spent the day trying to figure out what had happened and how. The FBI and local police forces across the country were busy rounding up so called suspects. The President told us we had been attacked by Islamic fundamentalist terrorist and that we would now be forced to wage war against them, that we would do whatever it takes to eradicate terrorism on a global scale.

For the next few weeks, the world watched those two towers crumble again and again. But now, after the United States has become embroiled in battle in Afghanistan—a country believed to harbor the man behind the attacks, Osama bin Laden—we are witnessing another collapse:

The loss of our constitutional rights.