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Our opinion: A time to reflect

December 31, 2001

Today marks the start of a new year and let's hope the year is filled with the peace that mostly eluded the world in 2001. If there is one thing we are tired of, it is bloodshed, and 2001 was marked with violence throughout the world.

As we celebrate the start of a new year and pray for a better future, we should reflect on the year that was — a year that will forever change America and the world.

The year 2001 will be remembered for one horrible day that has simply become known as 9-11. That was the day terrorists boarded four airliners and took the lives of thousands of people — with two jets striking the World Trade Center, a third hitting the Pentagon and the fourth crashing in a field in Pennsylvania.

In mere moments Americans discovered we are not quite as safe from the violence facing the rest of the world as we thought we were. On that day we were knocked to our knees in a way we had not been for 60 years.

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We hope, as people look toward a new year filled with promise — but also trepidation — that they remember 2001 as the year America showed why it is such a great nation. We were tested and we proved stronger than the terrorists thought. They wanted us to fall, but we pulled together, not just as Americans but as a country of many different cultures.

Perhaps 2001 will be remembered as a year in which people became more conscious of the need to think about their fellow man. When our brothers and sisters on the East Coast needed our help, we banded together to give them aid. When we launched an assault against terrorists, bombing targets in Afghanistan, we provided aid to the people of Afghanistan who were starving under the Taliban regime.

As we move into 2002, we are a changed people. We have lost our innocence in much the same way our country did on Dec. 7, 1941 when Pearl Harbor was attacked. We are hopeful our eyes are wide open now to the harsh reality of the world and to the fact 2002 could be filled with dark days.

With that awareness, and with a greater unity, 2002 could be a year in which the world community unites in a way it has few times before. If that happens, 2002 can be a year filled with peace and prosperity.

But it will not happen on its own. We all have to do our small parts. Each of us plays an important role in our community, in our state, in our nation and in the world. We must realize what we do in our own lives has a greater affect on the world than we can see. If we understand that fact, than we can do our part. We can create hope for a better 2002 and better future for our families, our friends, our nation and our world.

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