No doubt you have all seen and heard the tragedy which has cast September 11th in the same dark mold as December 7th, to name just one. It is quite clear that the world has hit a new low. Along with this tragedy has come a chance for our world to improve, and as hard as it is to accept, it is often a a close relationship...tragedy and progress.
The true test which our society, our nation, and the world in general now faces is the test of how humanity emerges from this situation. I have no idea on what the best course of action is. Nobody knows for sure. The best course of action must be predicated upon fact, a commodity which is scarce at times like this. Speculation and rumor pose nearly as potent a threat as those which faced the citizens in Washington, DC, NYC, and outside of Pittsburgh.
This is seen in the virtual conviction of Usama bin Laden in the court of public opinion and in the media. To their credit, most of the expert commentators have proceeded with care in that matter. Of course, the reports of celebration by Palestinians and Egyptians at the news of the attacks do very little to encourage rational examination of the situation. Though Palestinians may not have a thing to do with this specific attack, the unrest which exists between Palestinians and Israelis is put into a new light when children laugh and jump in celebration at the taking of lives in such a manner. Any persons confused over the failure of Middle Eastern peace protests need look no further than these kids...treaties and agreements signed by the leaders of these governments are all well and good, but the hatred between these groups is ingrained to the core of the societies. The peace process must be built from the bottom of the pyramid up, not the top down.
My day began at 6:00 AM AKDT when my phone rang. I decided not to move from my warm bed to answer. The machine picked it up and I heard the familiar voice of my good friend, Lance Corporal Leland E. Jordon, USMC with a message. The only thing I heard before I went back to sleep was "We are good to go."
My mind finally came back to the surface at about 7:00 AM and I flipped on the radio to tune in my morning ritual of irreverent sports talk radio, but was instead met with the word terrorism. If there is any word that gets to my attention, that is it. I flipped on my TV as quickly as I could and saw an image which will undoubtedly be burned into my mind for the rest of my life...the sight of the second aircraft impacting the second World Trade Center tower.
On my trip home from Syracuse last Monday, I had a couple of hours in Newark before my flight to Anchorage. From across the harbor, I could see the two towers of the WTC, and as anybody would be, I was very curious about the size of NYC. As we took off, I could see the Statue of Liberty, the WTC, the Empire States Building, and so on. It was quite an impressive sight for a small town kid like me...my first glimpse of the mythic Gotham. A Gotham that will never exist again, at least not in the same manner.
A tragedy beyond the lost lives and property has occurred today, and that is upon the psychological health of those who remain to mourn and clean up and move on. Our world has been changed forever, and while the loss that each of us feels for the untold horrors, it is our task to better our society, and to move on. It is difficult to say, and could be misconstrued as insensitive, but it is the sad reality.
How does somebody get beyond this? One interview I heard on the radio featured a woman crying "What if there is no tomorrow?"...a sentiment which I am certain is being felt across the nation. I do not presume to know to which faith each of you espouses, but I do know that the coming hours, days, and weeks will be one of great pain and great healing. My prayers are with the families and friends of the deceased and injured, and with our nation and our world. May the Lord, our God, lend us strength, wisdom, and caring as we deal with this surreal situation.
Today, September 11th, was the birthday of my dear, dear friend Kristen Clark, who is still back at UN-Kearney. The great loss suffered by so many today serves to help the rest of us take a serious inventory of our own lives, and helps us to fully appreciate what each of us has. Our friends, our family, our health. Kristen, I love you, and I do not know what I would do if I lost you.
The same goes for everybody else. My three sisters, Linda, Karen, and Ruth all celebrated another year of life in the past 2 weeks. My mother and father. My brothers, Warren and Keith. All of my brother's and sisters-in-law, my nephews and nieces. My friends...Leland, who lives a veritable stones-throw from the Pentagon. I thank God for all of you.
God bless you all, and may God bless our nation.