Hold firm in the face of terror

US commentators have said that they have never witnessed such displays of solidarity: organised days of prayer and mourning, reservists steadying themselves for call up and countless acts of kindness and condolence.

Americans, of course, learn from early school days to rally to the flag.

In such a vast country, the stars and stripes provides a point of focus.

It is not just a nebulous sense of patriotism that has been assaulted.

Sunday’s call to Americans to get back to work emphasises that in the US the right to freedom goes hand in hand with the right to wealth – individual and collective. The US economy must be rebuilt, and quickly.

By encouraging Americans back to the coal face, Bush can convince ordinary people that they are helping a war effort every bit as much as those individuals in uniform. And Americans won’t need to be told twice.

The international markets, meanwhile, are showing less certainty. The assault on Wall Street – a world economic powerhouse – was followed by dramatic market falls as fund managers and investors nervously dumped stock. Later markets rallied, but not fully.

Is such nervousness warranted in the face of almost universal condemnation and a huge sense of resolve? Perhaps the market needs a little of America’s steadfastness. Fund managers, analysts and investors should hold firm.

Don’t lose your nerve, otherwise the terrorists will have got what they wanted.

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