The Gray Line Tour: 9-11 gives us all cause to reflect

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 11, 2002


The events of Sept. 11, 2001, will remain fresh in the minds of most Americans and especially in the minds of our nation’s young people. All across the River Parishes, for instance, programs are set to acknowledge and honor local firefighters and deputies.

The last such display of national patriotism came during the Gulf War, where Americans stood by an ally and defended them against an invader.

It turns out now, though, that war remains unfinished business and America may soon be returning to confront Saddam Hussein, while at the same time, continuing the search for Osama bin-Laden.

It is wonderful to see school children involved in activities aimed at helping them recognize what a remarkable country this is. Children need to know the sacrifices made on their behalf, to give them a country which can and does stand proud in the world community.

Whenever disaster strikes in the world, America is first in line to offer humanitarian aid of food, water, shelter and medicine. When a hurricane struck Central America several years ago, south Louisiana was the jump-off place for such aid, even sending Christmas toys for the children.

Yet, despite all that good done in the world, there remain people jealous of America and despising everything this nation believes.

One of the hardest questions raised by children last Sept. 11 is a simple one: “Why do they hate us so much?”

It’s a question many adults still grapple with, not fully understanding how much and to what degree America is hated around the world. Still, we have strong allies, perhaps the strongest being Great Britain. The reason they are our steadfast ally is the same reason Iraq’s leadership does not – we do our level best to be the example for the world, the caregiver, the helper, the ally, the friend.

Some people can’t handle that.

LEONARD GRAY is assistant managing editor of L’Observateur.