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Voice: There is still joy in America

November 22, 2001

It has been an interesting past year of life. I recently celebrated my third year anniversary of being an Ocotillo resident and although I am contemplating a move to Yuma, I must admit, it is a very difficult contemplation!

Imperial County has been good to me and leaving a good thing is hard to do, especially in these trying times.

So many things have happened this past year and so much of it senseless and devastating. On a personal level, I lost two loved ones — both deaths in all likelihood avoidable. On a global level, it is obviously the terrorism tragedies that have overwhelmed my world.

I somehow have managed to go through life happily believing that the atrocities of war and terrorism would somehow bypass myself and in large part, my country. Yes, of course in my lifetime there was Vietnam but to me it was mostly just fire and flame images on TV at night when the family gathered for dinner. I was too young to grasp the horror of what was going on to countless people, families, our nation.

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Later it would become more real to me when my uncle went to Vietnam and, little did I know then, I would fall in love with a man who survived two tours there but who still carries the scars of his experiences with him to this day, the scars that seem to keep our own relationship stalled in permanent "park."

Just last August I came upon a horrible car accident on Interstate 8 outside El Centro. There were no professionals on scene and as myself and others attempted futilely to assist the victims I saw firsthand what carnage looks like.

Four weeks later the World Trade towers came tumbling down obliterating for many life, love, dreams.

But even then we clung to the pride we felt when we heard the stories of heroism, like the bravery of those destined people on the flight who went down in a Pennsylvania field. What could they have been thinking? How brave, how incredibly brave is it to arm oneself with plastic tableware and try to save a plane or at least save a bunch of lives by not allowing that plane to slam into yet another building?

I write this column not to bog down everyone in sadness and horror. I write it because even though my fairy-tale life of safety is threatened by new evil, now that I worry over my family and loved ones in the bigger cities that are more apt to be targets, even though I grieve over loved ones and even those people I never knew, there is still such joy left in the world and especially right here at home.

How about all those tattered flags streaming off of car antennas? How about all those other people who stopped to try to help with the car accident back in August? How about all our loved ones who still ARE alive and well? There remains profound goodness in the world and it is up to us to not lose sight of that now.

Yes, it's been a tough year and it's looking like it might not be getting easier in the near future. Let's do the near impossible and look positively to the future, enjoy what we have while we have it and above all else, cherish our loved ones and our nation. Happy Thanksgiving, Imperial County.

CARYN E.A. GEORGE

Ocotillo

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