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In Memoriam

By       Message Todd Huffman, M.D.       (Page 1 of 1 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   1 comment

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On a bright and terrible morning five years ago this day three thousand lives were lost in a series of instants. Three thousand souls were robbed of life, far sooner than anyone imagined possible. Three thousand dreams were ended as dreams inevitably are, abruptly and completely.

How pliable the future must have seemed that fine blue day - until it refused to budge. The eternity that to these three thousand lives appeared to exist did not exist after all. No matter how they coaxed or bribed or pleaded, the future insisted it did not know them.

Why. Why. Why. They don't have any question marks because we already know the answer.

The unthinking and self-satisfying answer is that they died of hate, sacrificial lambs on the alter of our "values and freedoms". Such nonsense. Mass murder requires as motive much more than an adolescent jealousy of the uptown rich kids and their too cool "way of life".

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The answer we know, deep within our denying depths, is that they died for the very reason that we don't understand why they died.

We don't understand the wider world and the ninety-five percent of humanity that lies beyond our shores. We don't understand foreign cultures and histories, creeds and ambitions. Our knowledge of other peoples is largely limited to the prices they charge for the luxuries and trinkets we no longer choose or know how to make. We don't understand, and we simply don't care to.

Five years on, let us work to improve our understanding. Let us work that the world might one day come to see us as we see ourselves, a decent and responsible nation. In the final analysis of that terrible day this is our collective charge, to honor the dead three thousand in this way, and no longer by repaying their deaths tenfold.

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Five years on, let us leave the past to its restless peace. We have tarried too long in mourning, suffered too long from survivor's guilt. Let us carry on - it is time.

 

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Todd Huffman is a pediatrician and writer living in Eugene, Oregon. He is a regular contributor to many newspapers and publications throughout the Pacific Northwest.

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