Lindsay S. Alger, obstetrician

Dr. Lindsay S. Alger specializes in treating mothers giving birth to twins or triplets, premature babies and other potentially risky deliveries. As she has discovered over the past year, it's a profession that insulates you when disaster strikes.

"Life-and-death situations happen every day," said Alger, director of labor and delivery at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. "You worry if you make the wrong decision, either the mother or baby might die. I've had very close calls."

In the months after Sept. 11, Alger, 52, has watched once-unthinkable subjects such as smallpox attacks become routine at the hospital. It doesn't rattle her. "I can't do anything about it anyway. So why obsess?" She's tormented far more, she said, by making a bad call in the delivery room.

Her routine hasn't changed much in the past year. She still works long hours — sometimes 24 or more at a stretch. She still spends every minute of free time with her husband and two children. "My life is constantly being pulled away from my family. So there's always been a feeling of 'time is precious.'" When a family reunion was held in London on the Fourth of July, she didn't ever seriously consider not going, even though she and her husband asked themselves if they were crazy to risk traveling.

If there's one thing that has changed, she allowed, it's her optimism about the future. "I don't believe it will be the last time something like that happens." And the constant talk of war with Iraq isn't helping. "People say the U.S. will have to be ready to stomach losses. I have a son who's 18 years old. I don't have the stomach to take that kind of loss."

But in the delivery room, at least, she finds satisfaction. "You don't really get that much bigger event than the birth of a child. It's a miracle. That doesn't get changed by Sept. 11 or anything else."

— Michael Stroh

Tom Jones, astronaut

Before he became an astronaut and flew four NASA space shuttle missions, Baltimore native Tom Jones, 47, worked for the CIA and flew strategic bombers for the Air Force. During the Cold War, defending the nation was based on deterrence. The threat of nuclear war called for a bristling defense and a patient tolerance of angry rhetoric from abroad.

The Sept. 11 attacks changed that for Jones. Foreign criticism now seems "misguided or ignorant," he said. "False gestures of sensitivity [toward foreign critics] seems a luxury we don't have anymore. We used to be able to put up with people hurling threats because we didn't think they'd come through. We've seen what can happen.

"Now I realize that we have to do things on a day-to-day basis to protect ourselves. [Unlike during the Cold War] there's gonna be some real people going out and fighting real combat. Deterrence doesn't work."

The attacks, he said, have "made me more determined to not change the way I enjoy life or do my work. In some sense you've got to trust that the people defending us are going to do their jobs."

Yet he feels more optimistic about America's future. "The fact that so many people died in the attack shocked people in a way they haven't been since Pearl Harbor — the shock of realization that our country, our way of life and our ideals have to be defended. Reading history, that has had to happen every couple of generations, it seems."

Jones does not believe that his children will see the end of terrorism. "But I think my children will realize that there are people there to protect them, and later on they will be asked to take on the obligation themselves, and they will realize that what we've got in this country is not a gift without a price."

— Frank D. Roylance

The Rev. William J. Watters, pastor

The Rev. William J. Watters, S.J., has been working on a sermon he wished he could have delivered a year ago.

When the terrorists struck, Watters, the pastor of St. Ignatius Catholic Church and president of St. Ignatius Loyola Academy in Mount Vernon, was traveling in Zagreb, Croatia, and unable to get back to Baltimore. The priest, known for his eloquent, thought-provoking homilies, was silenced at a time his flock needed him most.

"It deeply affected me. It's hard to describe how moved I was inside myself. Even when I speak about it now, I'm tearing up," said Watters, 68. "I just felt so incapacitated because I wasn't present, with family, friends, parishioners, the students."

A year later, he wants to share a message he was not allowed to then: have hope.

In the midst of "the tragedy we've gone through, the terrible experience that has been visited upon our people and upon our nation, we shouldn't lose our perspective as a people of faith, a people of hope and a people of love," he said. "We do need to mourn, and we have been mourning. But we also need to remember who we are as a people who have been given a promise, a promise that out of the ashes and out of the deaths and out of the tragedy a new day, a new hope, a new moment is upon us to remember the resurrection."

But Watters is also filled with unease at the talk of war.

"This whole Iraqi thing, this is what's disturbing me profoundly. Perhaps that's where I'll find myself on the 11th, speaking on the need to [say], 'Wait a minute, what's happening here?'" he said.

"I know long before 9/11, this government was talking about undoing Saddam Hussein. But there's a whole tone that's coming from the government, and it predominates very much in the [news media]. And that side of things I find extremely disturbing."

— John Rivera

Carl Clark, photographer

Reaching out to the rest of the world may offer Americans the best hope for winning the battle against terrorism, said renowned Baltimore photographer Carl Clark.

"We in America somehow manage to divorce ourselves from all that and look at the world through a psychological and cultural shield that said bad things happen elsewhere, not here."

Clark said Sept. 11 has changed him profoundly.

"I am a veteran of 2¨ years of combat in Vietnam and Korea. I have tried through the years, through constant therapy and on my own, to take my mind out of combat.

"But Sept. 11 made me understand that I can never do that, and that combat is with me always. And it is better to learn how to handle that combat state of mind rather than to try to eliminate it from my consciousness. Once I did that, I was better able to cope with Sept. 11 and help my family cope with it."

Clark, 69, a decorated soldier and widely traveled documentary photographer, said that his combat experiences made him "very aware of the horrors of the world. So that events in Central Africa, Kosovo, Israel, Northern Ireland are not just distant or vague news items — they are constant reminders to me of what we humans do to each other."

"The difference in how we live now is hard to see on the small scale, day to day, because the change [in our thinking] is more global. Our view is that things will go wrong. People will do horrible things; Sept. 11 was not a one-time tragedy. But we can't let it immobilize us.

"We as Americans have to integrate ourselves more into the world; that's the only way to stop more Sept. 11s from happening. If people believe we are genuinely concerned about the world — about the poor and the hungry, about environmental concerns, about the Third World nations — then what will there be for them to hate?"

— Glenn McNatt

Taylor Branch, historian

As a historian who has chronicled some of the most turbulent times in America's history, Taylor Branch talks about the Sept. 11 attacks as a learning experience.

"In the long term, this will be an exercise in growing up. It will make us ask ourselves: What do we really care about?" said Branch, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of two volumes of a trilogy on the civil rights movement.

Branch said the attacks have forced people to rethink the foundations of democracy.

"There's been a whole generation that's sneered at politics and government. But now, they're a serious enterprise again. I don't see terrorism as a military issue as much as it is a political one. If it were a military issue, we would have won already.

"When things like this happen, there's a tendency to resort to the most primitive response — let's just put them all in jail. It's better to tell the bin Ladens of the world that the problem is with their country, not ours. The problem is that they can't even write a letter to the editor of their own newspaper. It's that they can't figure out how to reconcile Islam with democracy."

Branch said that unlike most of the events he has written about, Sept. 11 affected him on a much more personal level. He and his wife, Christina Macy, have two children, one of whom had an internship at the World Trade Center last summer. "She wasn't there that day, but the experience has made me more emotional and it's made me value kinship even more."

Although Branch spends most of his time looking back, he said he remains optimistic when he thinks about the future. "The values of our revolution are still the enduring hope of the world."

— Molly Knight

Kripa Cuddapa, college student

Kripa Cuddapa values her privacy. That's why the Towson University senior sometimes finds it difficult to have moved back with her parents in Glen Burnie after three years on campus to save money.

And it's why she's uncomfortable with the country's response to last year's attacks.

"I feel like my privacy has been taken away," said Cuddapa, an English major. "I found out on NPR [National Public Radio] that if a book I check out of the library looks suspicious, the FBI can get that information and not let me know. It's kind of scary.

"What's most interesting to me is that [Osama bin Laden] hasn't been caught. If I run a red light, they have a picture of me, but they haven't caught him," she said. "The target is focused on the people of America, rather than him."

Cuddapa, 22, is by nature optimistic — the attacks won't keep her from going halfway across the country for graduate school in English, maybe to Chicago. But she believes the country has missed an opportunity by seeing the attacks as a reason to ratchet up security rather than rally the country together. Her classmates almost never mention the attacks anymore.

"Since it happened, [people] make excuses for things. Like, 'Support America, buy a car,'" she said. "It's sad that they're using a tragic event like that."

Cuddapa supposes she is especially wary of the government's high alert because she is South Asian. Her family emigrated from India in 1990.

"After it happened, I felt out of place, even though I pretty much grew up here," she said. "Someone said something to some Armenian friends of mine: 'Why don't you go home?' Luckily, that didn't happen to me, because I'm very sensitive. People have been pretty cool about it."

She follows the news more closely, though not as closely as her father does; he has watched CNN constantly since Sept. 11.

"He loves this country and is going to back it up," she said. "I do, too. It's just sad. Everything we do is being watched."

— Alec MacGillis

Afrika Burnett, third-grade teacher

Third-grade teacher Afrika Burnett turned 28 last Sept. 11, a day that started out beautifully sunny with billowy clouds, just the way she had hoped.

Her birthday, of course, will forever be remembered as a national day of tragedy. To the new mother, it reinforced that her family was more important than anything — and that the wide-eyed children she taught were her family.

"It's made me want to spend more time with my loved ones, family and friends, to create memories," said Burnett, who has a 15-month-old daughter, Elizabeth. "More trips and traditional activities, family dinners and family outings together."

Her husband shoots more videotape of Elizabeth and sends more pictures by e-mail to relatives. "There's more of a conscious effort to create family memories, especially for our daughter, to create a mental and physical scrapbook," Burnett said.

Burnett, who teaches at Phelps Luck Elementary School in Columbia, feels closer to her students, too. "Professionally, it's made me feel more like I am the children's mother," she said. "You do feel like you have more of a responsibility than just educating them while they're here. You feel like they're yours."

Burnett is trying to instill in them more of a sense of community and responsibility for others than she ever did before, she said. "I want them to see themselves as a part of a group. Hopefully they can see that our world is one world and that although we are individuals, that their actions affect others."

As she approaches her 29th birthday, Burnett wants to believe that her caring way of teaching will help prevent another tragedy like the Sept. 11 attacks. "I just hope that they'll grow up and realize that innocent people should never have to die."

— Tanika White

Dennis E. Beard, volunteer firefighter

For Lt. Dennis E. Beard, a volunteer firefighter of almost 40 years, the Terps' season opener perfectly reflected how the world has changed in the past year. A video presentation at the event featured presidents and historical figures, but clips of firefighters were the main attraction.

"The applause was unreal," Beard said. "Here we are at a major football game, and they were showing firefighters — and people loved it."

A volunteer with the Sykesville-Freedom Fire Company in Carroll County and public education specialist for Howard County Fire and Rescue Services, the 56-year-old said he welcomes the public's new appreciation for his profession.

"People sort of look at fire service like they look at the military — we're taken for granted," he said. "But now they realize there's a lot of good, highly trained volunteers out there serving them for free."

Still, the terrible events that prompted that recognition overwhelm Beard at times. "I want my grandkids to be able to grow up, but you just don't know," he said. "I can't promise you that you're safe now."

The security at the Terps game showed our newfound vulnerability, he said. As at other sports events he has attended in the past year, Beard was searched before entering the stadium.

"It's sad we have to do that now," he said. "But what are you going to do? Life goes on."

— Julie Bykowicz

Hassan M. Makhzoumi, physician

In many ways, Dr. Hassan M. Makhzoumi, a physician born in Iraq, feels his life has changed in the past year in the same way his fellow citizens' lives have.

"As an American, by choice, I came to these shores seeking refuge from upheavals that engulf the rest of the world," said Makhzoumi, 52. "And like all my countrymen, I wake up one morning and realize that turbulence has crossed the ocean. And unfortunately, like many Americans, I no longer go to bed 100 percent secure."

But there is a key difference.

"Our story is complicated because we are Arab-Americans, and we are Muslim Arab-Americans," he said. "It's a little like having a member of the family who is unpredictable and who is a rogue, who hurts people. It's well and good to say, 'That's not me, it's my cousin.' But it is your cousin.

"So I have felt an extra, not burden, but onus as an American would with ties to the Middle East who can perhaps translate the emotions and translate the thoughts of the Middle Eastern mind to the American Western mind," Makhzoumi said.

Before Sept. 11, "we didn't feel it was very important for us to talk about Islam, to talk about Arabs. Now we feel that we have let our heritage down if we don't go out and speak."

And Makhzoumi, who works 14-hour days as chief of pulmonary critical care at St. Joseph Medical Center in Towson and runs a private practice, has taken on new leadership roles in the local Arab-American and Muslim communities, accepting the presidency of the An-Nur Islamic Foundation in Carney.

"If I duck and shrug my shoulders and say, 'I'm a doctor, and nobody has come after me with a lynching party, so consequently I am fine,'" he said, "my son one day may be traveling in some God-forsaken place. And Mohamad Makhzoumi may be hurt because I didn't do my part."

— John Rivera

William D. Quarles, judge

Baltimore Circuit Court Judge William D. Quarles, who has been on the bench for six years, used to consider bomb scares at the courthouse a nuisance, believing they were the handiwork of defense lawyers trying to delay trials.

"We used to call them postponements of last resort," Quarles said. Since Sept 11, though, he has started taking the threats more seriously. "We now know that a bombing is possible."

That feeling of vulnerability has extended to other parts of his life as well. It is palpable, he said, when he takes friends to the airport. "It's no longer unimaginable, when you see a friend off on a trip, it will be the last time you see him or her," he said.

Quarles views the courthouse as a symbol of the country and sometimes fears that it will be attacked for that reason, just as the World Trade Center and Pentagon were attacked because they are symbols.

It is important, he believes, for people to continue their daily routine and not let fear consume them. For him, that means continuing with the mechanics of justice, such as presiding over jury trials.

"If there's anything to learn from this, it's that you have to reorient yourself to have a normal life while recognizing that no place is safe," he said. "If being human is the ability to hold two widely divergent thoughts, this is the test of humanity."

— Allison Klein

David Song, high school student

David Song considers himself a normal teen-ager. At 15, he loves tennis, computers and hanging out with his friends.

But since the Sept. 11 attacks, the sophomore at Howard County's Mount Hebron High School finds himself thinking about things he didn't before, things beyond the "normal teen-ager" realm.

"It makes us more aware of more than our own little universe. I always used to be aware, but now it's my own interest now, to watch the events of terrorism and what's going on abroad," he said.

Song said he pays more attention now to the countless newspaper reports and television spots on terrorism that have appeared since the attacks. He can't seem to get enough. He said he took note at first of how the tragedy pulled people together. "It's really made us more aware of how we could help each other. People started volunteering," he said. Even he volunteered in a local hospital.

But he has been disappointed in the way most people — including himself — have slipped back into everyday routines.

"Now the volunteerism, the patriotism is actually kind of fading," he said. "After half a year of that, it was kind of diminishing. It's kind of sad to see people get fired up, and then it just dies down so quickly."

The events of the past year have made him fairly pessimistic about the future.

"It just makes you aware that there's too much conflict in the world," he said. "And it's just going to tear people apart.

"It would be nice if people would keep Sept. 11 in their heads and realize that there's still opportunities to help each other. Then maybe there's some hope that things won't look as bad 50, 80, 100 years from now."

— Tanika White

Chris Jones, homicide detective

Baltimore police homicide Detective Chris Jones has patrolled the city's streets and investigated killings for the past five years. After witnessing the horrific effects of violence firsthand, Jones said, he has been affected by the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks mostly in subtle ways.

He tries to spend more time with his family, he looks over his shoulder more often in government buildings and he feels a little nervous when he boards an airplane.

"The average person doesn't see what we see," said Jones, 32, who joined the homicide unit in January. "The average person has no idea how bad crime really is. We see it day in and day out. We realize what we're up against. We go to work and see ugly things."

Because of his experience, Jones wasn't shocked by the grim results of the terrorist attacks. "It was a tragedy," he said. "But I'm less sensitive to that aspect of it. Unfortunately, we're exposed to it, seeing everybody at their worst."

For years, he felt relatively immune to the dangers of the job. He always thought he would return home at the end of a shift. But the attacks — and the number of police officers and firefighters who died — changed his view. A newlywed, Jones now wants to devote more time to his family.

"It was kind of a wake-up call, that my personal time is more important to me now than it's ever been. I now realize the sacrifice I make to be here."

— Del Quentin Wilber

Galina Umanskaya, new American

Galina Umanskaya has a Sept. 11 message for American citizens, a group that she and her husband are a ceremony away from joining:

Do not be afraid.

She knows fear better than most.

"You know, I left Russia almost seven years ago — the whole time [there], I was scared. I was scared to tell anyone I was Jewish. I was scared to go to synagogue. I was scared to do anything — to be different.

"It's constant unhappiness."

The 30-year-old Rockville resident, who works for Montgomery College and is pursuing a master's degree at University of Maryland University College, watched on television as the airplanes crashed into the twin towers and thought she would be scared again. Scared to let on that she's Jewish, scared to be a walking target for people who want to hurt her.

"But then I said, 'No. It shouldn't scare me.' I still want to be a citizen. I don't want to hide that I'm a Jew. I'm living in a country where you're not supposed to hide."

In only one way is she allowing the attacks to change her. Now she wants to study other religions and cultures — "what they admire, what they hate, what they love" — and she will encourage her 2-year-old son to do the same.

This desire to understand others reminds her of why she came to America. It was not simply fear that prompted her to immigrate.

"Americans are the only [people] I can think of that — all of them are different, different religions, different thinking — they can live together and be friends," Umanskaya said. "Here, there are a lot more opportunities to live in peace."

— Jamie Smith Hopkins

Walter Sondheim Jr., civic leader

At the age of 94, Walter Sondheim Jr., a civic stalwart in Baltimore for more than 50 years, lived through most of the cataclysmic events of the past century. But Sondheim said the events of last Sept. 11 were "more jarring" than the bombing of Pearl Harbor or the Great Depression.

"It's terribly hard to judge that," said Sondheim, now a senior adviser to the Greater Baltimore Committee and a member of the state Board of Education. "I think [Sept. 11] had a larger effect on me because it was caused by the work of a few fanatics. That's a harsh realization, to recognize what enormous impact a few fanatics have been able to have on this country — our liberties, our society, our economy."

Sondheim said Sept. 11 has changed "the things I think about."

"It's hard not to think repeatedly about the people who were killed," he said. "I realize how secure I had felt before and that Americans don't enjoy the kind of security they had before. It has created a kind of insecurity which doesn't dog you every day but is a general feeling.

"It has made me care more about what people abroad think about the United States. I read more in current journals about America's understanding of countries and their understanding of us. I think a lot of our friends abroad are confused about us, and we're confused about them."

Sondheim said Sept. 11 put "a slight impingement on the unbridled optimism" but said he remains positive about prospects for the future.

"I don't think it's possible to lead a decent existence unless you're optimistic," he said. "I think many of us who have lived through all sorts of frightful events have seen people emerge from them without disastrous effects."

— Eric Siegel