A Response to our National Tragedy

September 13, 2001 — It feels like time has slowed to a crawl. My thought processes have been sent spinning in a slow, circular motion. “Routine” has ceased to exist. “Normal” is something we long for, but has moved beyond our grasp. The emotions run from shock to horror to anger. Our prayers are with the ones who lost their lives, and for their children and loved ones whose lives have been suddenly and tragically altered.

In the quiet of the aftermath, however, we begin to realize that “routine” was just a mirage, and “normal” never existed in the first place. And we have to deal with the several cold hard facts, including facing the fact that we are not in charge. Not only as Americans, but as human beings. We must also deal with the fact that an immeasurable piece of our innocence has been lost.

Just before feelings of helplessness set in, we realize that hope really is eternal, and there are things we can all do. We can trust in our leaders to deal with the perpetrators and/or perpetrator nations while keeping an eye on these events as they unfold. We can give blood. We can contribute time and money in our own hometowns to the American Red Cross (www.redcross.org; 800.GIVE.LIFE) and other agencies whose resources will be tested by these events. We can pray to the One who is in charge.

For me, I will do these things. But I think I’ll do a couple of other things just to show these sons of bitches they can not destroy our spirit. As soon as I can, I will book a flight on a commercial airliner. As soon as I can, I will buy some shares of stock. I may even go out and replace my aging automobile. I refuse to bow to intimidation as an individual. I know we will not be intimidated as a nation. We remain the standard bearers of freedom and civility in this world.

Just the same, we are changed.

Dear God, I pray somehow it will be for the better.