We live in unusual times. Today’s post reflects that.
With apologies to those seeking more coverage of the wedding, or an advancer on tonight’s Met gala, we look elsewhere this evening. And an advisory, we have a few graphic images.
Sometimes I forget that these weren’t the first attacks orchestrated by Osama bin Laden.
The victims are everywhere; Bin Laden and Al Qaeda brought death and destruction to so many places. One of their earliest attacks was the first World Trade Center bombing back in 1993.
Another was in London, in July of 2005.
Bin Laden didn’t like being expelled from Saudi Arabia, and in 1996 he bombed a US military compound there.
Below left, a survivor of the 1998 Nairobi bombing at the US Embassy, on the right, a man who was in New York on September 11th.
His fingerprints are on many other crime scenes and death certificates, but for many of us the fallout from the carnage he wrought is felt most strongly in New York.
While I can’t name every single attack he was responsible for, I do remember his words, especially these:
“We love death. The US loves life. That is the difference between us two.”
When the news broke last night the celebrations began almost immediately, in New York people flocked to Times Square, or Ground Zero.
In Washington, DC they went to the White House.
But the elation wasn’t limited to those cities, people spilled into the streets in other places, like Lawrence, Kansas.
And Dearborn, Michigan, where Toufeq Ahmed shared his happiness at the news.
There were a lot of flags last night, and again this morning; below, Germano Riviera with his in New York.
People in other countries rejoiced at the news, there were signs and confetti in the western Indian city of Ahmedabad.
It was the kind of celebration we hadn’t seen for a long time.
Shared happiness unblemished by partisan bickering.
No one cared if you came from a red state or blue state.
But there was pathos just below the surface.
And it was profound.
We were reminded repeatedly just how raw the wounds are.
Some responded with prayer, like Douglas Sidialo, who lost his sight in the 1998 Nairobi embassy bombing.
U.S. Marine Staff Sgt. Mark Gamache went to the Pentagon Memorial in Arlington.
Our personal distaste for the lunacy of “closure” has also been revisited in the last 18 hours. Why is it such a such a touchy subject? Because tonight the Bishundats will not see their son Kris. He was a member of the U.S. Navy killed at the Pentagon, and today his parents marked the event at that Memorial.
Carie and Danielle Larocque won’t have their Mom this Mother’s Day.
Multiply those stories and others like them by the thousands, that is why we don’t believe in closure. There is healing and scar tissue to help cover the wounds, but the gaping holes are never completely closed.
On days like today the signs often tell the story best.
“Love you, Miss you Sita! We Finally Got him!”
At a Medal of Honor ceremony today the President spoke today about our servicemen and women.
“And we’re reminded that we are fortunate to have Americans who dedicate their lives to protecting ours. They volunteer. They train. They endure separation from their families. They take extraordinary risks so that we can be safe. They get the job done. We may not always know their names. We may not always know their stories. But they are there, every day, on the front lines of freedom, and we are truly blessed.
The sign says “Thank you US Military, Holly & Henry”
Amen to that.