Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Looking Forward, Looking Back

With the coming new year, I find myself joining a lot of other people looking forward by looking back. Doing so, I find the year two-thousand and nine to have been a year of mixed results. I accomplished much; achieved some of my dreams. -- like starting this blog -- but have much left that I want to accomplish. I got rid of some of my mountain of stuff, but the mountain appears to remain undiminished. The cycle of assessing, evaluating, and purging stuff will continue. I attended funerals and grieved with family and friends. I celebrated weddings and new beginnings. I celebrated survival with those I flew with in Vietnam and remembered those no longer with us. I met new friends and renewed acquaintances with some I had not seen for nearly half a century. I am extraordinarily blessed to remain surrounded by wonderful people. And I laughed, and cried, and lived and loved life as it came. Looking forward I could wish for no better. My priorities for 2010 will remain pretty much what they were in 2009 (except that I do plan to experience and explore the interior of Alaska!) and my continuing goals will not change. In 2010, I plan to meet life head on and to savour every moment given me to its absolute fullest. I can do no more.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Pearl Harbor Remembered

7 December 2009: It amazes me that some sixty-eight years after the fact, the nation remembers Pearl Harbor and continues to view images of the attack with horror and outrage. Yet a mere nine years after the attacks of 9/11, images of airplanes striking the twin towers, of the towers burning and collapsing are deemed "too disturbing" to show on the six o'clock news.

In the years following 1941, images of the devastation wrought by the attack at Pearl Harbor galvanized the nation to act with resolve in the years to follow. During the dark days immediately following, and throughout the long slog from island to island in the Pacific, the battle cry was "Remember Pearl Harbor." And even today, on the anniversary of the event, the nation pauses to remember. In the weeks following 9/11, images of the devastation wrought by the attacks galvanized the nation to unity and action. Unlike the situation in 1941, such unity was short lived as our elected officials acted like the petty politicians that they are rather than the statesmen that the nation needed. National unity was squandered in the name of momentary political advantage. And the images that could have united us disappeared from view. The news media labelled them "too disturbing." Where is the horror? Where is the outrage? Where is the resolve to see justice for the wrong done on 9/11? Sixty-eight years after Pearl Harbor, the images of December 7, 1941 still unite us. And eight years after 9/11, in the absence of appropriate images and resolve, we find ourselves back to business as usual as if 9/11 had not happened. Where is the horror? Where is the outrage? Where is the resolve? On the brink of losing all sense of national resolve and our will to survive, we are on the brink of losing our culture and our freedom. Where is the outrage? Where is the resolve? Have we become a nation of wimps?