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Redefining Loss

Redefining Loss

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As I watched the college students celebrating in the streets after hearing the news of Bin Laden’s demise, I wanted to ask them why they were cheering before I passed judgment. I have two daughters close in age with these students, so I wanted to know what was going through their minds.

I see a generation now that is conflicted. They were young children when 9/11 happened. With modern technology, there is no way our kids could have been totally sheltered from the constant barrage of disturbing news coverage. As a hurting nation, we, as parents, were in total shock and tried to cope with the unfathomable, tragic losses, each in our own way.

Perhaps, we didn’t know all the right questions to ask our impressionable children. It’s obvious that 9/11 impacted their lives in ways that they don’t fully understand and we weren’t prepared for. I am wondering if this isn’t really about celebrating the death of an evil terrorist but is more about reclaiming some of the innocence from their childhoods.

Maybe we should…

1. take the time now to talk with young adults and see what’s on their hearts.

2. acknowledge their fears and concerns as being real.

3. remember our public display of emotions as baby boomers during contentious times rather than saying their responses are inappropriate or wrong.

4. start a conversation with our older children by asking, “9/11 was so difficult for all of us, in your opinion, what could we have done better and differently as parents?”

5. try to not undermine their feelings by stating the obvious, “In my day, we experienced the assassinations of President Kennedy, his brother running for public office and Martin Luther King, Jr., etc.”

6. be honest with your own feelings and ask how we might be more sensitive to those who lost loved ones and to the many survivors of 9/11, as it must be hard to have to relive old wounds again.

7. keep challenging our young adults to help work towards a common goal of hope and peace.

8. not underestimate this generation whose voices can truly make a difference as being a part of change.

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9 Comments
  • JoAnne, your post offers a lot to think about. I’ve been pretty disturbed by all the cheering and carrying on over the death of OBL. I know that there are evil people in the world who are responsible for countless deaths, but it’s our reaction to it that seems so barbaric.

    I can’t wrap my head around the idea of dancing on someone’s grave, no matter how rotten of a life they lived.

    Glad you’re back to posting. I always enjoy your writing.
    B. 🙂

  • Roz says:

    Very nicely said.

  • Jay Hudson says:

    Beautifully said, JoAnne! I noticed too that almost everyone was a young person.
    I think they were reaffirming that it is great to be an American.
    Thank you for sharing this.

    Jay

  • Sue says:

    So glad you are writing on such an important event in all of our lives. I have reflected some on how this has impacted his family. So many people innocently feel the affects of one man’s choices. The media are not posting much on what is happening in that part of the world.

  • Linda Brown says:

    I agree with you JoAnne. We criticize and demand “accountability” for individuals who find joy in bringing destruction to others. Yet, aren’t we also finding joy in bringing “revenge” to others. When I heard that Osama had been caught and killed, I will admit that I felt a sense of peace and relief. However, chanting in front of the white house holding flags and chanting seems a bit hypocritical.

  • What I like so much about your approach is that, unlike other items I’ve read on this topic, yours is light on what to SAY and DO and heavy on how to LISTEN and just BE.

    What a refreshing post to read about such an important topic.

  • kali says:

    Nicely written :~) Thank you

  • Michael E says:

    As usual your light is always shining brightly. I don’t think we needed all of the press associated with a “military” action except that it appears to be for approving the actions of the President at a time of low poll numbers.

    And who is to say that OBL did not pray for salvation at the time of his murder, in light of new reports that he was unarmed. As a Christian, I will not judge OBL, that is up to God. We must not forget that we “fed” this man while he was fighting the Russians and was on “our side”. Not unlike many of the dictators who are falling today.

    But young people need to be “voicing” their concerns about all of the wars we are engaged in, which takes funding away from education, health care, and a generally improved society. I think the lack of a “draft” and the fact all of those now serving takes away the need for a larger debate. During Vietnam, colleges were alive with debate and protest of war that went on and on. The demise of the draft took away the debate and the protest and now unless your serving or having family in the service are you not involved in this arena. We need everyone involved, your communities and your neighbors are serving to protect, but who are they protecting. War is big business and the Military Industrial Complex is alive and well in the United States of America. We need to get back to a Mighty Fortress in Our God, not in the weapons of destruction and a society that celebrates death and murder.

  • Liberty says:

    I appreciated your perspective JoAnne. Thanks for sharing.

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  1. So sad, what a terrible experience. and I know it was only one of many for you. Love you friend!!!
  2. This fills me with sadness: “No child should have to continually try to make a parent love them.” What a tragedy that your mother was not able to accept love from you. My guess is that deep down, she didn’t feel lovable, and she had to cover that shameful fact up with a bunch of br…
  3. It’s insane that these findings were made but nothing was done about it. All these years later, you are still waiting for the wrongs to be righted.
  4. I love you❤
  5. I hope you are able to find more on the first chapters of your life. How twisty things became when people had to hide things…ugh. Sad.