Newspaper Opinion Piece
From Back in the Day
GUEST OPINION: Post 9/11
Armageddon is Not for Everyone
By Bill Rayburn
Let me advance the radical concept that the tragic events of September 11 that took thousands of American lives will NOT forever change the way we live. Let me counter the many journalists in both print and electronic media who spout the alarming rhetoric that the American way of life not only will change, it HAS to change.
Let me say NO! It doesn't have to flow that way.
Of course, it MAY, should people let it. Certainly, anyone who lost a loved one will forever be changed, probably in a bitter way. But we are a population of approximately 275 million. I don't think it would be unwise to believe the majority of us will continue to live our lives as we did before September 11. Maybe not right away, but soon.
So why the Armageddon-like messages emanating from the media? Why are we not supposed to seek a return to "normalcy"?
Would it be an undignified gesture toward our dead? Would it be disrespectful toward the victims, past and future, if we stand firm and demand our way of life NOT change? Must our acknowledgment, our honoring of these innocent victims of terror, take the form of sacrifice?
With the immediacy that we now receive our news, our reactions tend to be more visceral and emotional, and less reasoned and intellectual. But this should not stop us from more sensible reflection on these events. Emotion tempered by reason is wisdom.
Watching that plane fly into the south tower without a single hesitation is an image permanently seared into our minds. It is frightening that Osama bin Laden could find 19 men willing to die in a desperate pursuit of martyrdom.
I will do all I can to not let these events change my life. I will raise my martini and toast the sunset from my deck that overlooks the Palo Alto foothills each evening. I will root for my beloved Raiders. I will try not to stare longer than I used to at the silent passage of planes in the skies above. I will not give in.
I respond with resolve, with a firm commitment to never give up the way of life, the quality of life, that up till September 11, 2001, had been a given for all Americans.
Bill Rayburn is a member of the Almanac's advertising staff