God, please bring my daddy home'
Sept. 16, 2001
The New Jersey teen-ager was holding a color photo of her father taped to a sheet of notebook paper. She was in agony, emotionally drained, describing how her father had gone to work in the World Trade Center on Tuesday morning. She had hugged him goodbye as she left for school. He had not been heard from since.
A young mother, grieving openly for her husband, clutched a photo of her sons and the father they may not see again.
They were among thousands of people searching for some word from or about loved ones. They descended on New York hospitals, armories, even imploring the media to broadcast and print the images of their family members and friends.
Compelling reporting of a breaking news event keeps us glued to the screen and this one was so incredibly visual that we dared not turn away. The act and aftermath of Tuesday's act of war may never fade from our minds and memories.
Muslim students speak
Only hours after the terrorism began, the Muslim Students Association at Mississippi State University issued a statement that was posted to the university's Web-site.
MSU President Malcolm Portera, perhaps fearing that college campuses can quickly spin out of control as students react under the burden of such a heavy emotional load, also issued a statement.
character of our people to bear on the current crisis, we are taking appropriate precautions to ensure the safety and security of our campus and our students.
… at an hour of our choosing.'
The ominous portent of these six words spoken by President Bush is itself a powerful image of things to come, things we cannot yet know. The U.S. will act, you can depend on it, and, hopefully, the terrorists and countries that harbor them will have the same kind of warning they gave Americans in the World Trade Center and Pentagon.
Americans will stand united in our support of freedom. We all will find our own ways of fighting this new war.
A resurgence of old-fashioned patriotism is already evident you would be hard-pressed today to buy an American flag. Locally, they are sold out, but more are on the way.
Our challenge, miles away from ground zero in this particular event, is to demonstrate a strong, renewed spirit to confront an old enemy doing evil work.
President Bush talked of a sustained effort, indicating that the U.S. response will be more than a one-time flurry of Cruise missiles fired into a lonely desert's terrorist training camps. Congress adopted a war resolution authorizing the use of whatever force is necessary. Attempts are being made to marshal the support of other nations and military contingencies are being prepared. War bonds may be sold.
All of this, and more, is necessary.
The seldom-sung third stanza of "The Star Spangled Banner," written 187 years ago in the aftermath of a once-enemy's successful burning of Washington D.C. and subsequent failed attack on Baltimore, has renewed meaning today:
That the havoc of war and the battle's confusion
A home or a country should leave us no more?
Their blood has wiped out their foul footstep's pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave:
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave."
Buddy Bynum is editor of The Meridian Star. Call him at 693-1551, ext. 3213, or e-mail him at email@example.com.