I believe that this attack, while horrendous and unconscionable and burned into the collective memory of this country and the world, has also shown something quite remarkable...
For the first time ever, I saw no racism, no crime, no looting, no self-serving agendas. Instead I saw compassion, empathy, support, incredible humanity where the very loss of humanity caused such terrible destruction, "ordinary" people braving such adverse conditions to help others, but more than anything I have seen unparalelled solidarity.
I saw no Democrats, I saw no Republicans, no Blacks, no Whites, no men, no women, no Christians or Jews or Muslims or Hindus, I just saw Americans. It is unfortunate that such a horrendous act brings us together so strongly, but perhaps this event will unite us even more strongly, unite us in a way that will illustrate to whoever perpetrated this attack that even with means such as this, you simply cannot break our spirit - that in fact this type of event binds us even closer together.
Your classroom is a perfect example of this - everyone who can appreciate what happened, everyone who does not possess what, in my opinion, is the character flaw that allows them to be unmoved by the images of September 11th (a day after my birthday, by the way), realizes what terror this was, the suffering of the countless thousands directly involved and the millions in the United States and around the world who mourn with us, appreciate what this country represents and realize that something needs to be done to bring this kind of thing to an end.
I don't condone violence, but the epic scope of this attack demands, in my opinion, a response of the strongest caliber. It is not unlike a bully in a schoolyard - every day this bully pounds you, and you try to be as diplomatic as possible in response, not wanting to provoke the person. Yet one day you get fed up and pound him back (anyone see "A Christmas Story?). Suddenly, the bully realizes you mean business and thinks twice about doing it again - talks tough, of course, but never actually does anything because they realize you have been pushed one bit too far and they'll get it worse next time. Again, I don't condone violence, especially against innocents, yet I believe this requires a definite, and significant, response.