Beliefnet

'Most of us have forgotten the vows we made'
Diane Keough, award-winning journalist living in Northeast Ohio

What happened in the days, weeks and months following 9/11 was like an anthill that's been stepped on. Initially, the ants rush around in wild confusion, trying to figure out what's hit them. But sooner or later, the activity starts up again. The ants go about their business and the damage that was done is repaired and forgotten.

At a party this past weekend, all conversation stopped and everyone looked up when a commercial plane passed over us, flying unusually low. The disruption was only momentary. The plane, like the national alerts that change from yellow to orange and back again, was treated as a minor annoyance and then promptly forgotten. The discussions about the Browns game picked up right where they left off.

Most of us have forgotten the vows we made on September 12th--our vows to change and begin leading lives of significance. Our vows to make this world a better place. We've forgotten our vows of unity. There's plenty of room to sit in churches, synagogues and mosques again. Politicians are back to bickering, name calling, and posturing. Initially, the pain of 9/11 served as an alert to most of us. How do we heal from the pain, but never forget the promises we made immediately thereafter?

I don't know. But tomorrow I'll keep the television and radio on, and listen, remembering how I cut back on my work hours immediately following; how I didn't mind the hassle of the beefed up security; how I held my boys tighter and wouldn't let my husband leave without telling him I loved him. I'm willing to read the newspaper, remembering how I smiled at strangers and let people merge into traffic, no matter how late I was running.

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