The Day After A Tragedy

Early this morning I thought about the days after major tragedies…

9-11-the-day-afterWhether it be Pearl, World Trade, 2004 Indian Ocean Earthquake, 2011 Japan Earthquake – it matters little. It could even be a personal tragedy after losing someone special.

How do you feel? How do you handle it? What do you do to get through? What about all those plans made and now lost? Did it really happen? Surreal. Unreal. Struggle. Saddness. Anger.

Back in 1941, imagine for a moment the inability to see news live as it happens. TV was a new medium and it is estimated that by 1950 only 9% of average households had a TV. (Source) Radio was more common and families would gather around that trusted appliance and tune into the crackly news as it was happening. Otherwise news arrived in print form – and this is by far the slowest and oldest news available in this modern day of technology.

We have grown accustomed to immediate access. Now. Not 30 seconds from now. Live. Technology spills its guts on us and we find that we can no longer be content with life of the Pony Express days. The Apostle Paul would write a letter, and months later it would arrive…

We watch tragedy as it unfolds, almost as if we are simply watching a Hollywood production, and what we see in the movies is more real to us than the tragedy unfolding before our eyes. We think little about the loss of life as it happens, but in the aftermath of the event we start thinking about all those lost lives. 250,000 in the Indian Ocean Earthquake and Tsunami. 20,000 or more in the Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami. 3, 500 on 9/11 and 2,400 at Pearl Harbor.

So today, I think about all those who have dealt with tragedy yesterday. If history proves to us anything, we do persevere through these most horrific times. Sometimes, we come through the valley as a glowing tribute of resilience, and other times we simply pick up the pieces and begin again.

Over the past few hundred years, I’ve gleaned these items as representative of life as it was experienced on December 8th….just remember, others celebrate the same day with a different purpose.

  • 1542 –  Mary Queen of Scots born
  • 1765 – Eli Whitney was born in Westboro, MA. Whitney invented the cotton gin and developed the concept of mass-production of interchangeable parts.
  • 1941 – The United States declares war on Japan
  • 1943 – Captain John A.E. Bergstrom was killed at Clark Field, Philippine Islands. He was the first World War II casualty from Austin, TX. Austin Bergstrom International Airport was named after him.
  • 1952 – On the show “I Love Lucy,” a pregnancy was acknowledged in a TV show for the first time.
  • 1980 – John Lennon is assassinated in New York City
  • 1987 – Superpowers agree to reduce nuclear arsenals
  • 1993 – NAFTA signed into law
  • 2016 – Astronaut John Glenn passes away at 95 years of age. (I have backdated this event as it was publicized shortly after I produced this blog today.)

From my Facebook Archives:

Finally, a 12/8 scripture for the day.

“Vanity of vanities,” says the Preacher, “All is vanity.” (Ecclesiastes 12:8 NKJV)