Monday, May 02, 2011
Not the end of an era, but an end of something.
I was a freshman in college, first semester, trying hard to stay awake all night in Alpha House while I was reading the Fagles translation of The Odyssey for a Harry B. Evans class. I fell asleep probably around 3 AM, and woke up six hours later. Strange things then happened- class got cancelled, and I started getting phone calls from my family on my mobile phone (a Nokia that barely knew what a text message was). Later, I was huddled in a dorm room with 5 other people watching the TV, later that afternoon, sprinting next to one of my friends to get to Finlay, and later still, trying to get to the roof of Walsh to get a look at what was going on.
I set off the roof alarm while I was trying to get up there, and felt like shit for, in essence, having tried to rubberneck, and also for having added unnecessary decibels of noise to what was already a terrible and chaotic situation.
The next day, classes are cancelled but the RD is telling us stringently not to treat this as a snow day. That weekend, at Alumni Hall on Fordham Road, someone carried an American flag around the bar. We all sang 'God bless the USA,' I think, probably cognizant that at this point, that the sense of pride alone was comforting.
I will grant the fact that, at the time, this was a sense of real resolve. America is about rebuilding, starting fresh, and coming back stronger.
But myself and likely everyone else on that campus had a sense that things would never be the same ever.
Tonight, things aren't necessarily all better in one fell swoop. If tonight's NBC newscast was any indicator, tomorrow, we will hear a great deal about Joint Special Operations Command (or JSOC, as the broadcasters seemed to have enjoyed saying so much). Details will then unravel about how the operation took place, graphics will show on screen the timeline of the operation, from August, 2010 to the present, and maps will show where the compound was, complete with 3D-esque topography. Not so terribly unlike ten years ago, as details started to unravel about the plots, training camps in Afghanistan, and how this terrible thing came to be.
In themselves, tonight's news does not necessarily bring closure, or categorically end the story that started 10 years ago (though arguably, that story may well have begun much earlier).
But hopefully, perhaps idealistically, in contrast to 10 years ago, our country just might have better days ahead than those that are behind.