Earth Shattering

For my generation, it was the second “where were you when…” event in our lifetime.

For my mother, it was the third such occasion.

Unforgettable days like these – December 7, 1941, November 22, 1963, September 11, 2001 – are etched in the memory of every American who lived through them. They become landmarks in our personal history as well as in the history of our nation. And what happens as a result of cataclysmic occurrences like Pearl Harbor and John Kennedy’s assasination and the terrorist attacks changes the course of every living person on the planet.

Earth shattering.

Stephen King’s novel, 11-22-63, does a marvelous job of revealing the way the course of history can be changed by one event. I sometimes forget that one historical action leads to a series of reactions that shape the future. Without the impetus – the action that sets the dominos falling – the future becomes completely different. In King’s novel, we see his vision of a modern American had Kennedy lived to fulfill his term.

And it isn’t pretty.

Of course that’s just fiction, and Stephen King’s fiction at that, so we don’t expect it to be rosy. But it clarified what a stunning impact one event can have on the future of the world.

So on this anniversary of one particularly earth shattering event, I can’t help but wonder how life eleven years later would be different if those terrorists had been stopped at the security gates, if they’d never been allowed on those planes that beautiful fall morning.

How the world would be different if those same men had grown up without all that hatred in their heart.

If we could all tolerate the diverse beliefs and opinions that exist throughout the universe.

If we could all live in peace.

Earth shattering.

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3 thoughts on “Earth Shattering

  1. Well, we may have opportunity to experience #4 if our politicians don’t get their act together. Just today, on the anniversary of 9/11, our consulate in Libya was burned down, and our flag was torn down at the Embassy in Egypt. In response, our government apologized for offending Muslim beliefs, and President Obama refused to meet with Israeli leader Netanyahu because of a tight schedule. (He’ll be going on the Letterman show, instead.)

    While the TSA tests our airport-purchased drinks and gropes old ladies, the entire length of our southern border is wide open to anyone who’d like to come in.

    I don’t mean to be Gloomy Gert, but I’m quite serious when I say I believe we’re less secure now than we were before 9/11. I hope someone gets a grip before we have to go through it all again – and perhaps much worse.

  2. First, to Linda: I wish I hadn’t read even more of what Obama isn’t doing. My heart is in my throat about the safety of our country, the leadership which I see as weak, ineffectual and so much worse I don’t even want to take up poor Becca’s time relating it here. And my dear son? Off to boot camp in January? My heart clutches…

    Now for Becca’s post. It’s so strange to think that the children I teach today were not even born for the 9/11 event. I had to explain it to them, as much as I could without causing utter terror, and I feel so old! I remember Kennedy’s assassination too, just barely, and I look forward to reading the King book about it this November with one of my book clubs.

    Oh, that people would treat each other with love, or at the very least, respect.

  3. I’ve given some thought to this “what if” scenario recently, but on a more personal level. Sometimes the mind and heart wonder how life might have been different if…

    It is mind boggling to imagine how the lives of the loved ones of the victims of 9/11 would be different if those planes had been diverted, not to mention our country. Those few minutes changed so much.

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