As the holiday season passes us by, one can't help but notice the
change of tone it presented in comparison to the past. The terrorist
attacks Sept. 11 and the events following it, including numerous anthrax
scares and the dispatch of U.S. militia, has altered the states of mind
of most of the country, as well as the world. To indulge in festivities
and celebrate the holidays as enthusiastically as before seemed
unthinkable, when life as we know it has been changed forever.
Christmas, as well as Hanukkah and most other well-known winter
holidays, has always been characterized by extending kindness and being
thankful for what one has. This past season was the same to a greater
extent, along with a solemn, laid-back mood created by the mix of sorrow
With such a huge wall of emotions hanging over the holidays, things
are bound to be different. However, going along with the government's
hope of a "return to normalcy" is in reality among the best things anyone
can do. The holidays are a time of year when everyone should make a
genuine effort to be grateful for what they have been given and behave
with outmost respect toward peers.
While the majority of the population is not centralized in New York or
Washington, D.C., there is not one person who does not feel some effects
of what happened on Sept 11. Although the events of this year have
created a number of horrific tragedies, they have also proven that the
people of this country and around the world are capable of coming
together in time of need, and that they are able to gain something in a
time full of so much loss. Arguably the worst part of the disaster is the
fact that our country and our government most likely could have done very
little to prevent it and, likewise, we cannot do anything to change the
results. Patriotism and community have gained new levels of importance in
the past several months, and during the holidays they remained a
significant source of both remembrance and celebration.
2001 was a trying year for the United States, as well as the human
race in general. While many questions remain unanswered, the strength in
our country and the strength that we have in ourselves as people will
pull us through and continue to push us through another year of
uncertainty. The best thing that anyone can do right now is to focus on
how fortunate he or she is, no matter what the situation may be. Another
wonderful thing to do is to volunteer. This year many people are in need
of help and just as many have the desire to give it.
By making an effort to maintain faith in humanity and by practicing
extending ourselves to others, we can make this post-Sept. 11 year as
special and memorable as it should be.
* GRACIE R. KAZER is a Corona del Mar High School senior whose columns
will appear on an occasional basis in the Community Forum section.