To the Editor:
As we continue to gather together to express our grief and our
anger over the events of September 11, we must be careful not to let
our feelings blind us to what our nation is all about.
On the day after the attacks, I spoke with a good friend who told
me that since these terrible acts were committed by people who were not
Americans, we should stop allowing "foreigners" into our country. This
is a nice, generous person, seized with the anger of the moment.
A day later, I heard a report on PBS radio that American Muslims
are being harassed: women feeling they must stay indoors for
self-protection, extra police security around mosques, Muslim
schoolchildren suffering beatings at the hands of other children.
Let us not forget that we are a nation of immigrants, and our
diversity is our strength. Let us not make the same mistake that was
made in World War II when our own government ordered the
rounding up and internment of Japanese-Americans.
Let us also remember that in times of national emergency and
heightened military alert, concern for protecting civil liberties
I, for one, am willing to put up with certain restrictive security
measures that we are going to be seeing at airports and elsewhere, in
the name of security and safety.
But let us not forget that one of the things that makes our country
great is our concern for individual rights and liberties: freedom from
unreasonable searches and seizures, equal protection
and due process of law, and freedom of speech, of the press, and of
Let us be sure that, as we accept and support heightened measures
for our own safety and security, that we do not let our civil liberties
become casualties to the work of the terrorists.
Deborah A. Vollmer