Jeff Neal for C.U.R.E. - Certain Unalienable Rights Endowment

Usama bin Laden and Holding Little Hands

In Everyday Life on May 2, 2011 at 5:54 pm

Usama Bin Laden’s demise reminds me of, well, of course, 9/11 and the week or so that followed.  On Thursday, September 13, 2001 I made the following introductory remarks to a group of about 125 people at an evening engagement – a gathering which we had contemplated canceling because of 9/11:

If you read my invitation email yesterday (9/12) confirming that we would meet tonight, you read a small portion of an essay I keep in my office and to which I refer for strength at certain times – “Self Reliance” by Ralph Waldo Emerson.  That portion says:

“Discontent is the want of self-reliance: it is infirmity of will.  Regret calamities, if you thereby help the sufferer; if not, attend your own work, and already the evil begins to be repaired.”

Another passage of his also has added meaning in light of recent events, but I have to set that up a little bit:

See, I walked into my home on the evening of 9/11, and my two little boys, as they did everyday, came running to the door to greet their daddy with hugs and kisses.  That reminded me of a passage from a favorite novel, Bonfire of the Vanities, based in high-society Manhattan and written by Tom Wolfe.  Sherman McCoy is the main  character.  His daughter’s name is Campbell.  Mrs. Lueger is the mother of one of her classmates whose sexy little body momentarily had taken Sherman’s mind elsewhere after he dropped Campbell off at the bus stop.

“He felt buoyant.  Just why, he couldn’t have explained.  The discovery of the lovely little Mrs. Lueger . . . yes, but in fact he always left the bus stop in a good mood.  The Best School, the Best Girls, the Best Families, the Best Section of the capital of the Western world in the late twentieth century – – but the only part that stuck in his mind was the sensation of Campbell’s little hand holding his.  That was why he felt so good.  The touch of her trusting, utterly dependent little hand was life itself!”

And, now, the other passage from Emerson:

“Not he is great or powerful who can alter matter, but he who can alter my state of mind.”

Americans, not the murderous hijackers and their co-conspirators, are great and powerful.  Our state of mind is not altered.  We, despite their evil, know the truth  – that “the touch of that trusting, utterly dependent little hand IS life itself.” That’s the foundation of our state of mind, and that has not been changed.

God Bless America.

Have you checked your state of mind lately?  How are you keeping the terrorists from winning?


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