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Where were you when the lights went out?

link Clyde Davis

Local columnist

Where were you when the lights went out? The lights in the twin towers, and the awareness, reawakened in our nation, that we were not invincible and that we could not take these liberties or this safety for granted.

Where, then, were you? I use the term reawakened because conversations with my dad, and others who were of a reasonable age to remember Pearl Harbor, have shown me that, prior to Dec. 7, 1941, we as a nation were also complacent, if that's not too strong a word. We were prepping for Christmas, we were cleaning up after Thanksgiving, we were,in short, in a place where we did not notice what was happening around us. My mom was too little to remember.

I was, on 9/11/2001, recovering from cancer surgery, when my mother came up the stairs, and my wife came in the room, both crying. I think. I was on meds, so I can't be sure. The same meds had caused me to believe that what I was watching on TV must be a disaster movie. I think. But I am not sure.

There are lots of reasons I don't like pain meds, but one of them is that sense of unawareness.

Where were you when the lights went out?

I was still a member of the National Guard. It seemed inevitable, given our mission at the time, that we would get mobilized. We did, or some did, but not for the mission we were equipped to handle. I did not know if I would survive the cancer, though the doctor had said my chances were excellent. so I was concerned that my unit would go without me. No soldier wants his unit to go without him.

Ironically, it was that very cancer which caused me to be honorably removed from the Guard.

The generation which I teach was very young on 11 Sept. 2001. They do not remember a time when airlines were not on tight security, nor a time when one did not need a passport to travel between US and Canada, between US and Mexico. They do not remember a time before which, in the interest of tight security, the government could reasonably access your data.

The stories of my students who are of mideastern ethnicity cause me to feel angry, when they recount being bullied and picked on for their background. The very freedom, in a town full of military veterans, which we swore to defend, becomes lampooned when someone bullies a 17 year old over her ethnicity. It also happened in 1941, and in 1917 ...

The crime was not generated by religion or an ethnic group, but by cowards and bullies who hide behind religion so they can commit murder. One might as soon take the crazies from Westboro Baptist in Kansas as representative of Baptists.

Where were you when the lights went out? If you are over 25 years of age, I have no doubt that you remember.

Clyde Davis is a Presbyterian pastor and teacher at Clovis High School. He can be contacted at:

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