This paper reviews the findings of several studies on the economic and psychological impact of the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington, DC, and identifies common themes and important similarities (as well as key differences) from this research literature that inform our understanding of national resilience. The paper then examines some of the ways in which the U.S. has responded to 9/11 in terms of preparing our communities for future terrorist attacks. While federal, state and local authorities have held numerous preparatory exercises, this analysis argues that it is a mistake to rely solely on the government to deal with the immediate impact of terrorist attacks. Community education and empowerment must play a prominent role in any comprehensive homeland security strategy. Community Emergency Response Training (CERT) initiatives have been developed throughout the United States to do just that, and provide an important model for other countries who seek to build resilience in their communities. Further, in our efforts to do so, there is much the U.S. can learn from the experiences of other nations who have faced terrorist attacks for many years, including Colombia, Ireland, Israel, Spain, Sri Lanka, Russia, and Turkey. Finally, this analysis concludes that leadership, preparation, communication, education, and the development of social capital are vital elements of any strategy for building community resilience in an age of terrorism.
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