Respecting human rights should always be fundamental. No matter the conflict, no matter the scale, no people group should ever be wholly dehumanized. As we’ve seen in the stories coming from domestic Muslim communities, tales of oppression and violence and grief, we’ve found that they, too, are human. They are more like us than unlike us. Dividing the world into “us” and “them” is never helpful. We are all “us”. We would do well to remember that.

And after Snowden’s 2013 revelations, the outcry to end invasive spying programs established after 9/11 has reached an all-time high. If we wish to balance safety and freedom, we must learn to live with a sense of vulnerability, to live with the knowledge that we there will always be danger, but that it is not worth donning the yoke of the absence of privacy.

Perhaps most importantly, we must learn that a more thoughtful, measured approach to war should be taken. War is, at times, necessary. To deny that would be naive. But rather than acting out of a sense of vengeance, we must act out of a sense of justice, carefully planning our approach from a place of emotion, but from one of reason.

As you think on the tragic events of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, consider what you’ve learned in the subsequent years. Think critically. What you learn, and how you relate that to those around you, will mark the rest of history. We’re still, even 15 years later, at a turning point in American politics and culture, and the choice of how we continue to grow and react remains ours.

How will history remember post-9/11 America? You decide.

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