"In the weeks and months 9/11, many commentators described the 'dream-like' mindset that the disaster had induced. They attributed our fugue state to the 'unimaginable' unreality of the event. Nothing like this had ever happened before. But essential to our understanding of what that attack means to our national psyche is a recognition that it did happen before, over and over. And its happening was instrumental to the formation of the American character. The nation that recently imagined itself so impervious to attack at home was gestated in a time when such attacks were the prevailing reality of American life."