JIM LEHRER: Roger it was two weeks ago today but it seems so fresh like it just happened.
ROGER ROSENBLATT: It seems as if it just happened, Jim. Yet we've learned so much in this short time.
JIM LEHRER: About what? What have we learned?
ROGER ROSENBLATT: It's as if we're seeing each other for the first time and realizing not only that we're vulnerable - that was the first quick lesson - but how valuable we are, how much we value one another, strangers reaching out to strangers, people wanting to know the fates of other people whom they never knew before and a whole appreciation of the way we're built, the way we're composed.
JIM LEHRER: What about the fear that it unleashed and the expectation of more to come and this war that is about to be fought, et cetera, how are we holding up as an American people about all of that?
ROGER ROSENBLATT: I think, Jim, one of the most heartening things is with all the fear, with all the anger; nothing is as strong as love of country. That has arisen in a horrible time, but it has arisen and we are absolutely sure of it. And that love of country means the love of the way the country is structured so that we learn to protect individuals now. We've learned from other wars and mistakes from other times and to protect those very things of which we are composed and therefore do not become the people... Like the people who attacked us.
JIM LEHRER: So we have to maintain who we were before we were attacked even if we counter... even as we counterattack. You think we know that?
ROGER ROSENBLATT: You know, I've heard people say that too many attention is being paid to protecting our Muslim... Our Muslim-Americans here. It can't be. Once we recognize that is the most important basic precepts of the country, that individuals count, then we don't regard people as categories because as soon as you start looking at people at categories and categorical enemies, then you are on the verge of committing genocide, which is in fact what the attackers did to us two weeks ago.
JIM LEHRER: Roger, the President and others have now said we have to get ready for a new kind of war. Has that sunk in with you personally, not the American people generally, just you? What do you think about when you think about this new war that we're about to fight?
ROGER ROSENBLATT: Well, I don't know. I guess I'm as confused and alert and probably fearful as anybody else. But I do have the feeling that we will find a way to fight it. If these folks hide, we'll find a way to unearth it. The only thing that I can really concentrate on is a different kind of victory, and the victory that I see is this wonderful recognition of the remarkable place we created. Last weekend in Yankee Stadium, watching us and all our extravagant differences, grieving together and celebrating the country together, that's about the most important thing that can come out of a dark time it seems to me.
JIM LEHRER: Is that the single most important good thing that's come out of this in your opinion?
ROGER ROSENBLATT: Yes, I'm sorry it had to be arrived at with such an extreme impetus, but, as I say, if we're seeing each other for the first time, we're liking what we're seeing.
JIM LEHRER: What worries you the most about what's still to come?
ROGER ROSENBLATT: Well, like everyone else, when you're dealing with an enemy who doesn't care whether he dies and is so fueled by a kind of savage zealotry, then you are helpless to somebody who knows what he wants if he wants your death. On the other hand, we've survived a long time as a stumbling and sometimes sauntering but nonetheless good-hearted civilization. I still think that's where we are and where we'll be when this is all over. After it's all over, after all the... After the enemy is beaten-- and he will be beaten-- after the fear is gone, after the grieving is diminished somewhat, we'll still have one another and be very proud of that.
JIM LEHRER: Roger, they're saying this may take years and years for it to be over.
ROGER ROSENBLATT: It took years and years to build a civilization that learned from its mistakes. So let us hold our breath, learn how to fight a new war and last out those years.
JIM LEHRER: All right. Thank you, Roger Rosenblatt, my friend.
ROGER ROSENBLATT: Thank you, Jim.