Thursday, September 11, 2008

Where Were You When............?

A friend and I were having lunch last week. He surprised me when he asked, "Where were you when Kennedy was assassinated?" I told him, and I repeated where I was when RFK and Martin Luther King were assassinated. I even told him where I was when Elvis died and Lennon was assassinated.

It reminds me that in a sociology class we were discussing values of a culture and mores, etc., etc. Boring stuff. It was interesting that the instructor said that our values are set at age ten from the adults and society we live in, and from age ten to around age 16 we develop our own values from experimenting with our place in that society. The only thing that changes this whole parameter is a catastrophic event. Like assassination, like war, like Hurricane Katrina, or a tsunami that wipes out everything. Or famine, or invasion of one's country, or anything along that line. So my generation was effected by 3 assassinations of world leaders and a really bad war that was killing my generation off. And two social icons were killed.

Now I am not trying to say that my generation was special. My mother's generation was effected by the Depression during their young years, and by a World War that was killing off their generation. My grandparents had their own struggles.

I don't know where I am going with these thoughts. But I do know that today is September 11. I do know where I was on September 11, 2001. I do know that I think it is a very tragic event in our history. And a monumental one at that. But I am not as effected by that as someone who is of the generation surrounding that event.

But go back to the original thought. When we think about Iraq or Afghanistan, think about the effects of our invasion on the mores and societal impact that we created for the children and young people of those countries. It will show up within the next 20-30 years.

And think of any other society we do not understand-or even pretend to understand. What impact will you have on the people in that society? What impact will we have on the children that were snatched from the compound of that religious sect in Texas at gunpoint? We will see in another 20 years. What effect did we have on the poor little Cuban boy that was snatched out of a closet in Miami at gunpoint?

I guess we will find out in a few more years.

Meanwhile, I leave you with a picture of Noodles birdwatching out his kitty door. I understand this more than I understand what we are doing in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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