In recent years it has become fashionable to say that we had entered the post-9/11 era — that the terrorist attacks that took place nine years ago today wwere just another milestone in our nation’s history.

No one is saying that today. Just as a previous generation drew its lessons from the appeasement in Munich, or the sneak attack on Pearl Harbor, what we know about the world in 21st century America is still shaped by the image of hijacked planes crashing into buildings.

Recent events show that we are still coming to terms with what the attacks have meant to our nation. A proposed Islamic cultural center in New York City, just blocks from where the World Trade Center once stood, has led to a bitter dispute between those who say it would be a symbol of America’s tolerance of religious freedom against those who say it would be an insult to those who died at the hands of terrorists acting in the name of Islam.

An obscure Central Florida preacher has commanded an international stage by announcing that he planned to mark the anniversary by burning the Muslim holy book.

Both controversies have drawn comment from the president of the United States and ordinary citizens all eager to say what these events mean in light of the shared national tragedy of Sept. 11, 2001.

In the past, this anniversary has been marked with little political rancor. That does not seem possible this year.

At least we can all agree on something: We are living in the shadows of those events, and any desire to put them behind us is premature at the least.