Between the Lines

Between the Lines by David Lias Just when I thought we haven�t changed, I was proven wrong.

Maybe I was simply lulled by the usual, more quiet events of summertime.

A time of graduations and picnics, keeping up with the grass when it rained, the county fair, golf and baseball and fireworks and burgers on the grill.

All in all, a good time. A peaceful time.

Two weeks ago, Vermillion made its usual transition from a sleepy summer community to a bustling center of higher education as USD students suddenly seemed to appear everywhere.

Younger students at St. Agnes and in our public schools had watched their more carefree summer days come to an end as classes began.

All in all, a very active time. Business as usual.

Last Sunday, while taking photographs at the annual Bull-A-Rama bullriding event here, I realized that, despite all of our familiar trappings, life isn�t what it used to be.

Rodeos and bullriding events are typically rich with patriotism, flags, color guards, and special music that honors our nation and its freedom.

The last time the organizers of the local Bull-A-Rama had a �typical� patriotic recognition of the stars and stripes was at its 2001 event.

It was held on Sept. 9. Two days later, the world changed.

At last Sunday�s Bull-A-Rama, it quickly became evident that things aren�t like they used to be.

The flags that are unfurled in the rodeo ring are done so to not only honor the nation, but also to pay respect to the thousands of men, women and children who died Sept. 11, 2001 in New York City, Washington, DC and Pennsylvania.

Through sheer coincidence, the timing of the Bull-A-Rama and anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks have linked the two events.

It makes us remember those terrible days.

It makes us remember the innocent people who died two years ago.

It makes us remember the Herculean effort of law enforcement, firefighters, medical personnel and government officials who reacted instantly to the crisis.

And it makes us look to the future, to a time when the wounds won�t be as fresh, when there will be new generations of Americans who didn�t live through Sept. 11.

Someday, there will be a great number of people in the country whose only knowledge of that terrible day will come from reading history books or viewing a video of the airliners crashing into the twin towers.

There is a glorious, comforting power to normalcy that ultimately pushes its way back into our lives after we experience events like those of Sept. 11 that rocked our world.

We may not let that comforting power do its work. At least not yet, because we fear that maybe that will be disrespectful to those who died or those who suffered so much.

But ultimately, the laws of nature have shown us time and again that on our planet there continuously are periods of natural and man-made strife, but eventually, normalcy returns.

There is also a fundamental trait shared among Americans, I believe, that cannot be destroyed by a cataclysmic event like Sept. 11.

Our day-to-day routines ultimately came back � the business of living here on the plains of the Midwest, wasn�t destroyed by Sept. 11.

We will never be exactly like we were, and it would be wrong to deny the enormity of what happened two years ago.

But that doesn�t mean everything changes as a result.

I�m waiting for the day when Ground Zero in New York City will be filled once again with both a memorial to the victims, and new buildings to fill that empty spot of Manhatten�s skyline.

That new structure, appropriately, should be something that you and I have not thought of.

It should be something of far more beauty, far more dimension and utility, and far more originality than we are capable of dreaming of.

The new buildings should be tall. They should be symbols of our resolve.

Otherwise, the forces of darkness will have won.

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