Tuesday, September 11, 2012

In Remembrance of September 11, 2001

U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Michael W. Pendergrass

Eleven years ago this, I overheard a coworker down the hall from my office telling someone else about planes hitting the World Trade Center. I checked in on the Internet and on news radio for reports on what would develop into the the modern era's day of infamy. We know of the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, but there was also the attack that did not occur because of the heroic actions of the passengers on United Flight 93.

Eleven years of daily living, along with increasing domestic rancor, may have dimmed the feelings of shock, horror, and outrage and the response of prayer, compassion, and resolve that united the people of America and most of the world. However, terrorist activity around the world should serve to remind us that the threat is still real.

This anniversary stirs abundant remembrance and reflection and many stirring pictorial and video items have appeared on the web and on Facebook. I still find this audio/visual Internet presentation developed by a New Yorker shortly after the attacks as one of the most powerful portrayals of those times. The sequence is ~15 minutes long and some of the images and sounds are quite disturbing, others are inspirational. Use the browser View/Zoom function and adjust the scroll bar to enlarge the slide show.

It is important that we remember, not only to honor those who died and those who acted heroically that day, but to remain constantly aware of the ongoing dangers, of the presence of real evil in the hearts of some men, and to maintain constant vigilance and a determination to defeat this evil. Finally, we must always remember to trust in God and his mercy during trying times. The story of the cross formed by two beams found among the ruins of the twin towers is recounted here.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Conventional Wisdom (Or Not)

The Republican Convention held last week in Tampa, FL and the Democratic Convention underway now in Charlotte, NC convey contrasting worldviews. GOP nominee Gov. Mitt Romney challenged President Obama's record in office while emphasizing a positive vision for the future.
If I am elected President of these United States, I will work with all my energy and soul to restore that America, to lift our eyes to a better future. That future is our destiny. That future is out there. It is waiting for us. Our children deserve it, our nation depends upon it, the peace and freedom of the world require it. And with your help we will deliver it. Let us begin that future together tonight.
VP nominee Paul Ryan delivered a stirring call the previous night. The convention highlighted a number of rising stars in the party. Marco Rubio, Susana Martinez, Nikki Haley, Mia Love are among the names that may become more familiar to the nation.

The Dems convention kicked off today in Charlotte. First Lady Michelle Obama just finish a rousing call to rally supporters of her husbands re-election, but the rest of the roster of speakers tonight seemed to be a repetition of traditional Democratic themes claiming to be the party looking out for the poor and middle-class and trying to attack Republicans for undermining those efforts. Their claim to caring for the vulnerable is open to questioning both in terms of the effectiveness of traditional Democratic government-centered solutions and of moral consistency, given the openly proclaimed obsessive support for abortion-on-demand.

An underlying story of this election campaign has less to do with the efforts of the candidates and parties themselves and more with the changing nature of media that convey information to the public. Social media, talk radio and other alternatives are broadening the flow information and allowing things to  be known that are often filtered by the traditional "old media" sources. Conventional media types are frustrated that they are finding it increasingly "impossible ... to change the conversation". Actually, that's a good thing!