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Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Bin Laden Defined the Past 10 years, how about We Define the Next!

We had different plans for today’s blog, but due to recent developments I decided to change the subject for the week. Anyone who was watching TV late on Sunday May 1st 2011, had an unexpected interruption to their normal broadcast, especially if you were watching a major network.

By now all of you probably know I am referring to Bin Laden and his untimely (but welcome) demise. This report has stirred many emotions throughout the country, and perhaps around the world. Who reading this can’t remember where they were almost 10 years ago as we heard, saw, and perhaps personally experienced the Sept. 11th terrorist attacks?

I remember close to the Sept. 11th anniversary 2010, my son saw me get emotional when there was a tribute on TV. I think it was actually a Ken Burns documentary on baseball. It contained details of the short sabbatical that the sport took right after the terror attacks, and the emotions a week later when it resumed.

My son asked me, “What was wrong?” He was 8 years old at that time and if you did the math you’d figure out that nearly ten years ago from today he rested, alongside his twin sister, safely inside my wife’s pregnant belly. He never saw the skyline of New York transform forever that day. I, on the other hand, had a 7th floor college dorm room in Brooklyn in the early 90’s that, for 3 years, overlooked the towering twins. Just two days prior to Sept 11, 2001, I drove up the Jersey Turnpike and reminisced of those days as I saw the towers anchoring the night sky of southern Manhattan.

The name of my first company, Sunrise Enterprises, LLC., was a tribute to the many early mornings I saw from that dorm room, when the rising sun lit up lower Manhattan like a lantern as the glowing sun reflected off the modern glass skyline. I’ve seen many sunrises (unfortunately) since those days but none nearly as impressive.

Answering my son’s question, I explained how the world had changed that day. How the world stood still that day. How America rose-up on that day. Flags never streamed so boldly as they did in the days that followed.

I explained how airplanes were grounded and how silent and alone it felt. He had no idea what I meant, so I told him that we take so much of our lives for granted that we often don’t know what we have until it’s gone. “I bet there are air planes flying by right now and you don’t even notice”, I told him. “Sometime you need to stop and listen and they are just there”. So we did and, as if on cue, from within my house through the walls and through the closed windows and doors, we could hear the buzzing of at least one air craft flying over our house. What seemed like an eternity of grounded flights and silent skies has all been forgotten as we long ago returned to business as usual going about our busy days.

It has been a long and tumultuous journey over the past 10 years. We are often accused of being complacent. We are also accused of being greedy and self centered. Though we don’t all fit this same mold, there are points in each of our lives that we can reflect upon and improve. Even prior to 9-11, we have been transforming in the area of politics as we have definitely gotten more polarized as a country.

Last night, news of the death of Bin Laden filled special reports and the news casts. Then, as if on cue, people came together to celebrate and to cheer. The one who was responsible for the attacks nearly 10 years earlier was killed in a raid in Pakistan. News many of us wanted to come many years earlier. So much hurt, so much sorrow, so much pain. But as many have reminded us, this doesn’t fill the void that was left in our minds and our hearts. For so many years into the future… it won’t fill the empty chair at the dinner table, the missing encouragement at little league games, the empty hugs at college graduations, or the empty arm of walking brides down the aisle at the weddings.

So I ask you as fellow Americans, don’t let this past tragedy define us. Even more so, don’t let the seeking of closure and revenge define us either. I am glad that Bin Laden is no longer with us, just as I am happy that Sadam Husain is nowhere to be found either. But as we move forward in our newly defined world, I want you to consider one thought. On Sept. 11 there were reports of anti-American protesters cheering in the streets, even from within our own country. As happy as we are, I wonder if we as a self-proclaimed civilized & moral society should stoop to the same levels of cheering in the streets. Wouldn’t it perhaps be more civilized to simply say, “good riddens,” and move on.

I understand the emotion and relief of this long quest to bring to justice this central figure of terror and evil. However, do we need to have events of tragedy or their subsequent revenge define who we are? It was stated back then and I’ll state it again, the greatest revenge is to not let the terrorists’ terrible actions linger in us, but to truly move on and continue to make this country stronger. We should be a proud and unified country every day. Let us not be so short sighted as to join hands today and mince words tomorrow or next week. Moving forward in the days, years and even centuries to come, let none of us forget that United We Stand, and divided we will fall.

God bless America and the many citizens that make it the great country that is it.

Steven Kline
Managing Partner

1 comment:

  1. and in God we trust! Wow... couldn't have said it better! My thoughts exactly. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this topic.