Like it did for so many others on the East Coast of the United States, my day of Sept. 11, 2001 dawned clear and bright. Later, the day would grow warm, but the morning air held the crisp promise of autumn. The streets of the neighborhood around the Bethesda hotel hosting the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism-sponsored conference seemed peaceful and safe in the early light. The sunshine matched the conference's optimistic mood. We were a multidisciplinary group of scientists brainstorming ways advanced neuroscientific tools could help identify risk factors for alcoholism.

We had just settled into our breakout discussion when the staff member handling meeting logistics gave us the news. Planes had hit the towers of the World Trade Center. The Pentagon was on fire. We sat there stunned and confused. It was almost impossible to process the information. Had something gone completely crazy? Slowly, it hit...

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