Vol. 9, No. 38
September 20-26, 2001
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Where We Stand in Chesapeake Country
September 11’s terrorism hits close to home in Chesapeake Country.

For many of us, Washington, a ground zero of last week’s terror, is our daily or weekly destination. Even as we recount the blessings - that cancelled our appointment at the Pentagon last Tuesday … made us late for our usual 9am at 1700 Pennsylvania Avenue … kept us off an early morning flight from Dulles - we live with the potential of more attacks.

On our way to work, we could be on the target range. Certainly, we come up against terrorism in small inconveniences in our daily lives: closed roads, security checkpoints, slower commuting.

Closer still is the impact on the thousands of Chesapeake citizens employed by government agencies, the media and the military. For many of them, September 11 will control daily life, sending us into the dark of the conspiracy and its clean-up. Others will be snatched from home and family and set on the far harder road of whatever response lies ahead.

In short, in Chesapeake Country we have special vulnerability, physically and emotionally, to the flow of world events. This event, an attack on our soil, will challenge us like no event that has come before.

The biggest of those challenges, we think, is finding the right response. We know for sure that that’s not the knee-jerk reflex of pain. Immediate and massive retaliation for the sake of revenge is not in our interest - not in the nation and especially not here, so near the bull’s eye.
In planning our next steps, our leaders need to be as clear headed and long seeing as the founders of our freedom.

If that step is war, it will not be war as we see it in the movies, not even at their most gruesome. It will be a war much different, even, than the Gulf War’s computerized bombs that turned corners to enter open windows.

Many people, innocents among them, will die in a no-holds-barred war. As the circle of retaliation widens, more Americans will die on our soil, perhaps in ways even more frightening and insidious than the attacks last week.

We’re speaking of the unspeakable here, the very real threats of chemical and biological weapons. As we write and you read, disaster planners are trying to imagine how they would handle the all-but-undetectable release of, say, bacterial spores like smallpox or ebola that could sicken and kill untold numbers of Americans.

Scary, yes, but part of the grim reality of living in close, concentric circles to ground zero.

We pray with you that the decisions we make will be wise. We pray for the return of peaceful everyday life, with its simple liberties that make us great.

Terrorists have taught us to think the unthinkable. They have insinuated fear into our dreams. They have inconvenienced our comings and goings. They may even separate us from what we love best.

But they cannot take the blue out of the sky or the sparkle off the water. They can’t keep us from striving to equal Chesapeake Country’s natural resources with our best works and deeds.

They’ve maybe even taught us to love our land and our liberties better. As always, as we reel and rise from September 11, as we pray, Bay Weekly will be reporting the best of what we make of our land of opportunity.

Copyright 2001
Bay Weekly