It’s a small passage from Obama’s Berlin speech, but this formulation, common in some circles, grates on some ears, like mine:
The terrorists of September 11th plotted in Hamburg and trained in Kandahar and Karachi before killing thousands from all over the globe on American soil.
Yes, the victims were from all over the globe — places like Brooklyn, and the Bronx, and Manhattan, and Queens, and Staten Island, and New Jersey — all over. And most were Americans, weren’t they? Wasn’t that the point of the attack? This isn’t to diminish the loss of anyone on September 11, but people come from all over the world to be Americans, and the great majority of people who died that day were Americans. Factcheck.org looked into the question a while back:
Specifically in New York, a little under 3,000 people died in the attack on the World Trade Center. A year after the incident, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that 2,726 death certificates had been issued and estimated that another 93 deaths had occurred, bringing the total to 2,819 persons.
Of those issued death certificates, 1 percent (27 people) were foreign nationals from eight different countries. Also, about 21 percent (568 people) were born outside of the U.S.