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Keller @ Large: What Have We Learned About Ourselves?

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President Barack Obama speaks with family members of victims of the September 11, 2001 World Trade Center attack after laying a wreath at the 9/11 Memorial at Ground Zero in Lower Manhattan May 5, 2011 in New York. (Photo credit STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)

President Barack Obama speaks with family members of victims of the September 11, 2001 World Trade Center attack after laying a wreath at the 9/11 Memorial at Ground Zero in Lower Manhattan May 5, 2011 in New York. (Photo credit STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)

WBZ-TV's Jon Keller Jon Keller
Jon Keller is WBZ-TV News' Political Analyst, and his "Keller A...
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BOSTON (CBS) – The days following a major, all-consuming national news event are always an interesting time, a relatively rare moment when everyone is talking about and reacting to the same thing, and it gives us a chance to measure where we are as a national culture.

So what have we learned about ourselves this week?

Listen to Jon’s commentary:

We’ve learned, or maybe just been reminded, that we remain the strongest military power on earth, capable of amazing military feats using the most advanced military technology and the world’s best-trained personnel.

And we’ve learned that when it comes to protecting our homeland and taking out those who would threaten it, there isn’t that much difference between a very liberal president and a very conservative one.

Our enemies around the world may hate us as much or more than ever this week, but only the willfully ignorant among them still cling to the notion that America is too weak and soft to fight back when attacked.

We’re learned once again that as much as we tend to rally around the flag at certain moments for awhile, there is no such thing as the lasting national political unity President Obama was appealing for in his speech Sunday night.

It quickly became impossible to keep track of all the various splinter groups who were grinding axes over the bin Laden killing, from right-wingers challenging the very fact of his death to left-wingers hand-wringing over whether he was armed to Native American groups complaining that the code name for the mission was Geronimo.

I recall that the legitimate sense of political unity we felt right after the 9-11 attacks lasted about a month, maybe less; that may have to stand as the modern-day record.

And one other thing we learned about ourselves this week — we haven’t forgotten 9-11, at least, most of us haven’t.

When I saw the president yesterday greeting a ten-year-old boy in New York whose father had been murdered by bin Laden’s crew, I felt once again all the anger and sorrow of that time.

It’s right there, beneath the surface, and I bet I’m not the only one who will carry it forever.

You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. and 12:25 p.m. You can also watch Jon on WBZ-TV News.

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