As we roll over into 2002, it has become apparent just how much changed two years ago on millenium night.
Remember? We hardly even noticed the arrest of what appeared to be a nervous Arab goofball trying to sneak into Washington state from Vancouver with a trunk full of explosives.
We now know that Ahmed Ressam was a member of Al Qaeda — the Usama bin Laden terror organization — and that they were at work on a millenium bombing that didn't work out.
Back then, they wanted LAX. Later, they got the World Trade Center. So you could say that the new millennial reality — terrorists striking at the heart of America — actually began that millenium night two years ago.
We've learned a few things since then. At least, we hope we have. But before we turn our backs on this pivotal two-year period, let's take a moment to remember those that we are leaving behind.
The New York Times has ended its special daily section called A Nation Challenged that dealt with the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks.
In this section were published Portraits of Grief, in which the victims of the World Trace Center attack were sketched in small human detail, with a short headline:
Bronx in His Blood. Someone to Lean On. A Friend, A Sister. Making Moments Count …
Over 1,800 people were remembered in these portraits. For those of us who never knew any of them, this segment was a way to get acquainted, to learn why what happened to these people was so tragic, so outrageous, so deeply sad.
For me, and I suppose for others, it was also a way to galvanize anger, and to focus it. A way to remember that it wasn't just a pile of concrete and steel that came crashing down, but real lives of real people whose only crime was showing up to work on time one awful morning.
The Times also published A Year in Pictures section with vivid photos of the Trade Center exploding in orange plumes. Good taste came into play when they decided to leave out the horror pictures of people falling from the buildings down to their deaths.
We need these pictures, and we need these portraits of grief to remember and to redouble our efforts. We cannot let any remnant of the organization which caused this to escape. We cannot let any secret cell left in this country remain undiscovered. The millenium is new, but this outrage will stand the test of time.
That's My Word.
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