The first reports seemed so casual - a plane has crashed into the World Trade Center - then, a few moments later, it became a "commercial jet plane." Then, a second jetliner and a third, and a fourth.
We have no television here at our relatively isolated Montana vacation home. My husband and I generally listen to local talk radio from the moment we rise 'til we retire at night. At word of the Pentagon being hit, and not believing this could actually be happening, I rushed to my computer to see if what we were hearing was not simply a horrendous play on Orson Wells' well-documented ruse on the American public, or an enactment of a Tom Clancy novel.
And, of course, it was not - it has been all too real for so many thousands!
Listening to the story unfold, we try to visualize the unbelievable destruction and related horrors, but it has been as if we are somehow detached from it all. The bits of TV coverage we have had access to in restaurants and stores is not the unrelenting, gut wrenching display the vast majority of America has been exposed to.
But our rage at this invasion of our borders by this army of terrorists - our rage at this wanton massacre of more than 6,000 innocent and defenseless husbands, wives, fathers, mothers, infants, school children, teachers, businessmen, military personnel, waitresses, secretaries, airline pilots and attendants, policemen, firemen - is no less intense.
As has been so well stated by journalists much more talented than I, this deceitful, shameful, cowardly act of war on America on September 11, 2001 has stirred our country's casually dormant American pride, spirit and resolve - this gentle, sleeping giant; this home of the brave and the free; this ever gracious sanctuary for millions seeking refuge from oppressive governments throughout the world; this willing protector and provider for those in need - the United States is now ready to take on the massive task of finding and punishing those responsible for these unforgivable deeds.
America and its allies are preparing to go to war against these armies of cowardice, these murderers of the innocent and defenseless.
My only fear is that, as this lengthy and difficult war proceeds, our resolve will wane, our purpose will become blurred, our intense patriotism and pride of today will, again, become casual and dormant.
For the sake of the 6,000 victims who perished and the thousands of others who were injured and maimed for life, we who have survived this cowardly army's attack on America must not let it happen. We must truly commit ourselves to the task of seeing such deadly terror never takes place again - anywhere!
We must never forget the horrors of September 11, 2001.
This is not Kuwait. This is not Vietnam. This is not Korea. Our country has been invaded and not one of us is safe until these soldiers, their commanders, their supporters are rooted out and destroyed.
Yes, "I'm proud to be an American, because I know I'm free ... God Bless the USA."
There is no finer place on the face of this earth. We must protect what it represents, at all costs.
Even in such tragic times, life must go on. And what better way to move forward than to voluntarily participate in local government.
With the recent resignation of long-time board member and Dayton resident David Small, a position on the Lyon County Planning Commission is now open and the county commissioners will name a replacement soon. Applications may be submitted to the County Administrative Office in Yerington. Call 577-5037 for information.
I assume the commissioners will be looking for someone from the Dayton/Mark Twain area.
The planning commission makes recommendations to the county commissioners regarding parcel maps, zone changes, special use permits, subdivisions, etc. You do not need a background in building, construction or development. All you need is a desire to learn and an interest in what direction our county's increasingly rapid, seemingly endless growth will take. The planning commission meets the second Tuesday of each month - usually for the entire day.
Oh, there is no guarantee the commissioners or the public will agree with your well-studied decisions, and you will receive no compensation for your efforts except for travel mileage. You will, however, have the satisfaction of having participated in the treasured American political process.
This weekend's annual Dayton Valley Days offers an opportunity to enjoy some true American hometown fun and spirit.
There will be fun and games, an "outhouse race," a parade, craft and food booths, entertainment - a perfect place to bring your family and friends together, and, as we try and move forward, to begin the long, long healing process.