Christmas of 2001 Sarah’s third grade class performed their Christmas musical for a gym full of family and friends. Between songs the teachers had written little scripts for the students to tell about the meaning of Christmas and the holiday season. After one song, several children stepped forward and each had one line to say. “My name is ___ and my family celebrates ___.” The entire program parents had been smiling, whispering to each other and taking pictures. One little boy quietly said “My name is ___ and my family celebrates Ramadan.” You could hear the combined gasp of dozens of adults in the room. As the children started singing I was still looking around, embarrassed by the audience’s reaction. Everyone sat motionless and you could physically see the gears in their brains turning out panic, fear and renewed anxiety. Videocameras, still running, were sitting in laps while the adults tried to regain their composure. Americans were moving forward, but things had changed. As I prepare to board a plane next week, I wonder how far we’ve come from it all and how much we’ve let it change us.

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