I must comment on Jim Hoagland's Sept. 15 op-ed column, "Cruel September, and a Fear-Driven White House."

My family lives two miles from the Pentagon, and after hearing the crash on Sept. 11, 2001, we thought we might be blown away next. We felt as strongly as any Americans that our country has to do what it could to eliminate the power of the people who attacked us and to prevent future attacks.

But since that clear moment, the Bush administration has strayed far from that goal.

Every Sept. 11 since 2001, I have felt insulted and sullied by the speeches and ceremonies, which ring false and hollow in their smarmy insincerity. This is why I have distanced myself from the "remembrance" ceremonies. I feel the administration has stolen this sacred day from us to be used for its own selfish ends.

I would love to take part in an honest remembrance of this national day of mourning, but one has not taken place yet.




I plead guilty to Jim Hoagland's charge that some Americans went biking Sept. 11, but I have an explanation.

My husband and I lost someone we loved at the World Trade Center -- Kevin Bracken, a funny young fireman who kept the whole family laughing. So we have been determined to make Sept. 11 the nicest day possible. We ride our bikes along the C&O Canal towpath and have a riverside picnic. That way we honor his vital spirit even while we grieve his horrible death.

Rest assured, we'll never forget.