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Enemy Attack Unites All Americans in a Common Purpose
By Zack Loesch

     Janet Fast, the editor of Chesapeake Style, has asked some of the people who contribute regularly to her publication to write about the recent terrorist attacks on the Pentagon in Washington and the World Trade Center in New York. The Pentagon building is located, as our governor reminded us on television the other night, in Virginia. When I consider the enormity of the crimes that have been committed against this nation and its citizens I wonder what significance any comment I might make or opinion I might offer could have. As a writer of interview format stories I have always maintained that the secret of what little success I have enjoyed thus far has been due to the principal I try to bear in mind at all times, that no one really cares what I think. My writing is merely a hobby pastime and like most people, I have a real job. Yet a sense of respect for the Americans who lost their lives in these attacks and a sense of concern for the grieving friends and family members they have left behind compels some effort on my part.

     This is a response to my editorís request. I havenít much practice writing editorials.

     Like most Americans whose most immediate contact with the tragic events was by way of their television sets, I watched in shock and fascination as events unfolded. This experience was shared by countless people around the world. Grief and a resolve to support relief efforts pervades the communities of our region and this is seen in the attitudes we bring to our daily lives and even the simplest tasks. In the time since the attacks I have noticed an enhanced display of courtesy in the interaction of the workplace and in places where I go to shop. It seems that all Americans are being drawn together to cooperate, not only in their time of grief, but in preparation for an international conflict that now seems likely. 

     Our country is made up of diverse elements with people from many different racial, cultural and religious backgrounds represented in the mix. Sometimes different groups of Americans have worked at cross purposes and come into conflict because of their different beliefs. Ideally, where general agreement in greater matters prevails, disagreements in smaller matters are tolerated. This is the way to obtain the best effort from a large group composed of diverse parties. Our first loyalty should be to the United States, our national community. We have more in common as citizens of this country than we do with the ancestral communities of our origins.

     An Asian woman working in a local bank told me that her coworkers were critical of her choice of a bright floral print blouse at a time when customary attire for mourning would suggest the use of somber shades of brown, gray or black. Her brave show of color is perhaps simply a different response to tragedy and grief. Similarly, many people are attempting to do their jobs just a little bit better because they are roused to action and will not admit defeat. Our concern for the loss of life we have sustained in no way suggests any loss of national purpose. Grief must give way to focused effort. We must unite as one people with a common duty. Let us remember the losses we have sustained and what they have taught us. Let us be mindful of the sacrifices made by members of our armed forces, the police, firefighters and rescue personnel in the pursuit of their mission to protect the public. Let each of us bring forth what is best in our nature to the work that we have to do in the coming months. Let each of us work to develop our individual talents and abilities in service to our community of diversity. Let us be able to say that this is the America that these people who died believed in and hoped for. Our service can be a form of sacrifice also. 

© 2001 Zachary Loesch All Rights Reserved.


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