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 Onward: As the Dust Settles 
The following is one in an ongoing series of columns entitled Mind Over Matter by . View all columns in series
The week of September 11th passed in a cloud of dust that will ever-so-slowly settle.

Seemingly the world is not the same. We are not the same.

Suddenly waiting in line doesn’t seem to matter anymore. Next day delivery isn't a priority. That potential 3% cost of living raise isn't going to make a life-changing difference. Dealing with a challenging co-worker isn’t so difficult after all. A dollar fifty nine a gallon isn’t going to kill us. Nor is a few point fluctuation in the Dow.

The bar has been set higher for what will stress us. The immediate effect is numbing.

Mere words cannot express the impact of terrorism which has reared its ugly head on our soil. Devastation, disruption and loss are omnipresent. Insecurity permeates every aspect of our culture. Life as usual ... is simply no longer usual.

Little can be taken for granted. Mourning and pain will cloud the skies of New York, Washington and every community in our nation for years to come.

The disease has spread and is affecting every aspect of our lives. There's no inoculation against terrorism, nor is there a precise surgical procedure to eradicate it from the face of the earth. An invasive cancer, it is seeding diffusely throughout a vast territory without boundaries. Hiding among the innocent, it affords no easily identifiable target. The foe represents far more than a band of would-be martyrs - it is a sick and widespread ideology built on hatred that transcends generations.

Yet amidst the cloud of terror forever etched in our memories, a sense of triumph has already emerged. It did not surface from an offensive maneuver or a retaliatory strike.

Rather it arose from the hearts and souls of the phenomenal people of our nation who are heroically giving of themselves unselfishly to aid the wounded and the families who have lost their loved-ones. It is a sense of dedication - an unwavering humanistic resolve to do all that is possible.

Our triumph is:

  • the firefighter or police officer who rushes into a building beginning to collapse
  • the steelworker who relentlessly cuts through heaps of rubble about to cave in
  • the exhausted volunteer with bleeding hands who refuses to take a break
  • the frustrated physician, nurse and emergency medical crew who anxiously await any potential survivor
  • the weary human services worker offering an outstretched hand
  • the frightened schoolchildren collecting socks for the rescuers
  • the determined neighbor who refuses to leave because others need refuge
  • the party leader who has abandoned all partisan lines

Yes ... even amidst a seemingly overwhelming tragedy, we triumph. We venture onward as individuals, families, communities and a nation wounded yet not beaten back by a force destined to undermine the very principles and freedoms upon which our great nation exists.

We are tenacious survivors. America arose from a bloodbath 225 years ago. It has endured extraordinary challenges throughout its history, and it stands today as an unwavering testimony to liberty, freedom and hope for every peace-loving person on earth.

We are also a melting-pot. America has always stood as a safe harbor for the oppressed, downtrodden and persecuted. Our diversity makes us strong. On our soil we cannot tolerate the venting of anger in a prejudicial manner.

While concerted, unified and justified action is necessary, we must not forget that this is also a time for healing ... individually and collectively. Above all else, we must demonstrate to every nation of the world that we will not attack anyone on the basis of their national origin, nor will we avenge terrorism with irrational attacks.

It is my prayer that we commit to work together as civilized nations united to banish terrorism from this planet. While ongoing efforts will not heal the wounds that harbor our deepest pain, the future of our world depends on the difficult choices we make today and the manner in which we support each other in a time of need.

Let us collectively resolve to prioritize the safety of every man, woman and child regardless of race, religion, or national origin. With the help of God, let us strive for a brighter tomorrow that emerges from the dust and ashes of a nation committed to the well-being of all peace-loving people - Mind Over Matter!

©2001 Barry Bittman, MD all rights reserved

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 About The Author
Barry Bittman, MD is a neurologist, author, international speaker, award-winning producer/director and inventor. As CEO and Medical Director of the Mind-Body Wellness Center, a......moreBarry Bittman MD
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