“After great pain a formal feeling comes.” That’s about where we are now, those of us who didn’t lose anyone we loved on Sept. 11. We have gone back toa normal life, although perhaps in a kind of wooden way. There are some differences, of course. I read Jane Austen novels now instead of Nelson DeMille’s.
It is Veterans Day, and that focuses our thoughts a bit. A radio host said we should telephone any veterans we know, and for the first time ever it occurred to me that my father is a veteran, not “someone who served in World War II.” The Sunday sermon quotes from the Gettysburg Address. The Sunday comics are patriotic and sentimental. Even Garry Trudeau is a little gentler: “Psychologists are cautioning the public that a 100% approval rating does not actually make someone smarter,” says his White House correspondent.
And three days ago, two F-16s, 30,000 feet above our small town, caused two sonic booms in the middle of the night. People ran to the windows, they called 911, they talked about it the next day; it made the front page of the newspaper. I guess that is the way it will be for a while.