Guest Editorial

Tuesday, September 10, 2002

'What a Difference a Day Makes'

A pastor in a radio-cast mentioned a few interesting differences in America's lifestyle between Monday, September 10th 2001, and Tuesday the 11th. His list suggested the title of this column, "What a Difference a Day Makes." Reflection adds the following to his list.

On Monday, America went back to work to start another week. On Tuesday morning TV and radio broadcasts were interrupted by the news the Twin Towers of New York had been hit by two commercial airliners and several thousand had been killed.

On Monday morning the subject of discussion was the stock market's amazing ability to make instant millionaires. On Tuesday we were weeping over the loss of sons and daughters, fathers and mothers, husbands and wives, friends and neighbors.

On Monday, there were no prayers in public schools; the "separation of church and state" would not permit them. On Tuesday, there wasn't a school in the nation where a prayer wasn't lifted Heavenward.

On Monday, many were back at their jobs after a busy weekend which gave them no time to attend church and worship God. On Tuesday evening, many of them were back in church attending hastily prepared church services. God was important again.

On the 10th we were a divided nation; rich and poor, black and white, learned and unlearned, employed and unemployed. On Tuesday we were holding each other by the hand and shedding tears.

On Monday, family members got up in the morning and prepared to go their own way and do their own thing, often without taking the time to greet each other. The next day they were hugging each other; in some families that hadn't happened in a long time.

Monday found us to be our usual selves, a nation of complainers. Nothing is ever right. Tuesday was unbelievably different. Flags were best sellers. We rediscovered patriotism in a single day. We pulled the Pledge of Allegiance out of mothballs and used it again. Suddenly everything in America was right.

On Monday we were busy accumulating money, stocks and bonds; our goal - to end up wealthy. A day later we were wondering if possessions, Lotto winnings, stock market gains and CEO salaries are the real measure of wealth.

On the 10th, the Ten Commandments could not be found hanging on classroom walls in public schools. On Tuesday Americans were counting the dead and asking, What happened to the commandment, "Thou shalt not kill?"

On Monday a new administration was going about its business in Washington. Tuesday the President was shaking his fist before the nation and promising to hunt down terrorists and wipe them out. For this he received the nation's applause.

On Monday, Congress was playing its usual two-party, vote-getting game. The next day they unitedly gave the nation's checkbook to the administration so the President could keep his promise.

On Monday the 10th we were a nation divided by color, culture and country of our origin. These kept us miles apart. The next day, compassion and concern for others made an unexpected visit and we found ourselves united for a few wonderful days.

"What a Difference a Day Makes," if that day is Tuesday, September 11, 2001.

The bad news is, we are returning to normal and Tuesday's blessings are slowly slipping away. We paid too high a price to let them escape us. Every American needs to ask, "What am I doing to keep what was good out of what was bad on that never-to-be-forgotten fateful morning?"

God bless.

Clarence Richardson is a retired Storm Lake pastor and a contributing columnist for the Pilot-Tribune.