Anything Can Happen
[Rerun day for September; this was
originally posted as a New Year's message in
January of 2002.]
Eleven years ago, I sat in the Combat
Information Center of a U.S. aircraft carrier,
searching a radar screen for any sign of hostile
activity. Our warplanes were flying sorties against
the Iraqis around the clock, and a tense "anything
can happen" attitude weighed heavily on everyone.
One of our jets had already been shot down, and
standing orders required us to keep our gas masks
with us at all times. The "rumor mill" pumped out
doom and gloom at all hours.
Though the war ended more quickly than anyone
could have guessed, and my shipmates and I arrived
home to a hero's welcome, I've never forgotten that
feeling of trepidation. The memory doesn't haunt
memy wartime service pales beside that of
real war heroes, such as my
grandfatherbut it does remind me from time to
time to appreciate the moment.
Last September, all Americans got a taste of
what such uncertainty feels like. Terrible tragedy
struck us, shook us awake in our comfortable little
lives, brutally proved that, even here, "anything
can happen." Now, expressions like "Happy New Year"
come with a question mark.
The memory of September 11 will never fade. For
some, sadly, the wounds will never heal. The world
as we knew it may never "get back to normal." But
hope lives on: hope that humanity can learn from
this atrocity and evolve to the next stage of
being. After all, "anything can happen."
Strickland ALL RIGHTS