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9/11 Left Permanent Scars on the American Psyche
Date:9/12/2011

By Alan Mozes
HealthDay Reporter

SUNDAY, Sept. 11 (HealthDay News) -- Seven decades and several wars have past, but the bombing of Pearl Harbor still packs a psychological punch for many Americans. Enduring as a kind of national tipping point, it serves as the moment when a stunned young country shed a provincial sense of isolation and strode onto the world stage with the now-iconic can-do bravado of the "Greatest Generation."

A half-century after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, the emotional resonance of that sad and shocking event also continues to reverberate across time, marking the moment when a confident and optimistic nation forever lost its innocence.

So on the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on New York City and Washington, D.C., sociologists, psychologists and historians are focused on the country's most recent cataclysm and a key question: Has 9/11 similarly altered the American psyche?

"Absolutely," said Dr. Michael Brodsky, a psychiatrist at the University of California, Los Angeles' David Geffen School of Medicine. "9/11 is a singular, unparalleled trauma that every American can relate to," he explained.

"The attacks affected our national sense of identity enormously," he said. "First of all, we've had almost two centuries of peace on the mainland. We've been protected by two oceans, and largely immune from the kind of terrorism that many people all over the world have long experienced. And that has engendered in us a strong collective sense of invulnerability. That was shattered on 9/11."

Brodsky added, "Though there are similarities with something like the Kennedy assassination, in many ways 9/11 was a very different event -- and has inflicted a different sort of trauma on Americans.

"Everyone who was around remembers where they were on both occasions," he noted. "And both elicited grief. And a great deal of lasting collective pain. As w
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