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Sometime in October, about six weeks after the attack, several friends and readers remarked to me, ``Your columns are really angry.'' I honestly hadn't thought about it, but once they pointed it out I said, ``You know, I am angry.'' I was angry that my country had been violated in this way, angry at the senseless deaths of so many innocent people, angry at the megalomaniacal arrogance of Osama bin Laden and his men, who so blithely assumed that their grievance, whatever it was, justified this mass murder. I was angry that my stock broker, Mark Madden, lost his brother in one of the Trade Center Towers, and angry at all the analyses about why people around the world hate America -- when all I could think about was how much I hated these terrorists.But most of all, of course, I was angry that the America I had grown up in would never quite be the same for my two daughters, ages thirteen and sixteen. It only took a couple of weeks after Sept. 11 before my daughter Orly's county youth orchestra, which had been planning a tour to Italy over the summer -- a tour which had motivated Orly to practice extra hard all summer in order to retain her chair in the violin section -- announced that the trip was canceled. It was too dangerous for an American orchestra to be traveling around Italy, the staff concluded. I thought this was an awful decision. In fact, I was outraged. But other parents were more worried, and there was no persuading them otherwise -- although I wanted to. It was a new world knocking, and I didn't want to let it in. Ditto at my daughter Natalie's junior high school. She was supposed to take a class trip to New York three weeks after Sept. 11. We had a parents' meeting. The overwhelming sentiment was against going. Some of the teachers said their own kids would be afraid to see them go. I understood, but I didn't understand. It was a new world knocking, and I didn't want to let it in. So I refused to acknowledge that there was any reason to change any plans. I insisted on going to concerts and Baltimore Oriole's baseball games; I chafed at the extra searches suddenly imposed at Camden Yards, and got enraged while standing in long security lines at Dulles Airport. It was a new world knocking -- not the one I had grown up in, but the one my girls would now grow up in -- and I didn't want to let it in. To be honest, it wasn't only about my kids. Because, as a journalist, I often travel to war zones and other not particularly nice places, coming home to America has always had a special feel for me. Often I would come home from trips abroad -- to Russia or Venezuela, the West Bank or Africa -- and my wife would ask me how it was, and I would answer: ``You know, honey, the wheels aren't on very tight out there.'' I would often come home and marvel at things like Camden Yards -- the beautiful downtown stadium in Baltimore -- or the sleek, clean subway system in Washington, and think to myself how much community, how many tax dollars and how much sheer working together by different people, by different government agencies and the private sector, it took to build these public institutions. And I would think how great it was to live in a country that could come together to create the public goods and public spaces that make up the quilt and quality of American society. No matter how crazy the world was out there, America was my cocoon that I could always crawl back into, where my girls would always be safe. That's what was violated on Sept. 11, and it was violated by people who didn't even know us. That's why the American in me was so angry. But the reporter in me was also very curious. Who exactly were these people? What historical forces produced them? So these two impulses -- anger and curiosity -- have been my emotional companions ever since Sept. 11, wrestling for my head and heart, one winning one day and the other the next. They have been the hammer an anvil out of which every one of my columns was forged.