Clicking on banner ads keeps JWR alive
Jewish World Review Oct. 4, 2001 / 17 Tishrei, 5762

Bill Tammeus

Bill Tammeus
JWR's Pundits
World Editorial
Cartoon Showcase

Mallard Fillmore

Michael Barone
Mona Charen
Linda Chavez
Ann Coulter
Greg Crosby
Larry Elder
Don Feder
Suzanne Fields
Paul Greenberg
Bob Greene
Betsy Hart
Nat Hentoff
David Horowitz
Marianne Jennings
Michael Kelly
Mort Kondracke
Ch. Krauthammer
Lawrence Kudlow
Dr. Laura
John Leo
David Limbaugh
Michelle Malkin
Chris Matthews
Michael Medved
MUGGER
Kathleen Parker
Wes Pruden
Sam Schulman
Amity Shlaes
Tony Snow
Thomas Sowell
Cal Thomas
Jonathan S. Tobin
Ben Wattenberg
George Will
Bruce Williams
Walter Williams
Mort Zuckerman

Consumer Reports

It's OK to twist and shout

http://www.jewishworldreview.com -- GENEVA, Ill. - It was, I think, when the wedding reception disk jockey fired up that touching old standard, "Twist and Shout," that I became convinced that life in my family would continue robustly despite our terrible loss.

People with hair even grayer than mine were on the dance floor, as were children who haven't yet learned how to do long division. There was wild movement and great laughter. And in all of that I could begin to see the shape of a future - however different that future will be now.

My wife and I were here with other members of the family celebrating the marriage of the son of one of my sisters - just 11 days after the son of another of my sisters had been killed as a passenger on the first hijacked airplane to crash into the World Trade Center in New York.

The wedding date for Doug and Janelle, of course, had been set last year, and they eventually decided not to postpone it, although everyone knew we would be people of divided hearts.

I agreed with their decision, though I wished my sister and her husband, parents of my nephew Karleton, could have been with us. But they were where they needed to be - in Boston with Karleton's wife and son.

At the wedding rehearsal dinner - and as part of the wedding ceremony itself - we honored Karleton by naming him, by acknowledging the stunning empty space in our wounded hearts and by imagining how much fun we'd all have had if he'd been here to offer his relentlessly funny commentary on whatever we were doing or saying.

And yet we also celebrated. We surrounded Doug and Janelle with our presence, our best wishes, our hopes, our love. And in that familial act, we pledged that the terrorists who murdered Karleton would not murder our spirits, our lives, our determination to be family.

It is almost impossible to know how to proceed with life after such a terrific loss. All across our nation, other families have been struggling with that same question after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Even people who didn't lose family members or close friends have been traumatized and must find a way to keep going.

I am able to tell you now that moving on is possible. I have experienced it here in northern Illinois with my grieving family.

But let's be clear about our new reality. Our lives will forever be different because of Sept. 11. We never again will gather for a wedding or a funeral or a family reunion without a sense of deep loss. Every Sept. 11 from now on will be a landmine.

Every time my dead nephew's wife or his son has a birthday, the time will be reshaped, will be more poignant, will be bittersweet. Next week, on what would have been Karleton's and Haven's seventh wedding anniversary, we will all cry again.

But if we quit celebrating birthdays, anniversaries, weddings and other milestones, the killers would win. And we can't have that. As that lovely reception song, "Great Balls of Fire," filled the air here, I walked over to Doug's paternal grandparents at their table and asked why they weren't out on the dance floor being as foolish as the rest of us.

"Oh, I think our dancing days are over," Grandma said.

I looked at Grandpa. He nodded: "I have to agree with her."

Well, for their own physical health reasons, they're probably right.

But this family's dancing days are nowhere near over. And we want the malevolent people who killed Karleton to know that.


Comment on JWR contributor Bill Tammeus' column by clicking here.


09/17/01: One precious life among many
09/13/01: Remember who we are
09/11/01: Sometimes all children need is shelter from the storm
09/05/01: Couldn't run or throw, but a hero just the same
08/28/01: Lesson for the scientific faithful: Some theories come with strings attached
08/27/01: When waste in space is a waste of space
08/21/01: In complex world, we lack tools to carve out understanding
08/09/01: Visited while asleep by gang of magical mischief makers
08/03/01: Recognizing the limits of one's capacity
07/27/01: We are more than the sum of our work days
07/12/01: Some stars, like some people, never shine
07/11/01: Our deeply embedded need for order
07/03/01: Not-so-famous tour explores not-so-rich neighborhoods
06/28/01: Driven to tell the truth about golf and government
06/25/01: When poetry becomes destructive
06/21/01: We interrupt this broadcast to bring you a word from deep space
06/14/01: Theory of revolution explains why some things get lost
06/11/01: Shamanic gewgaws
06/06/01: Charity begins at homes with lemonade stands
05/30/01: When are wars worth dying in?
05/23/01: Cruising along that bumpy highway
05/09/01: If you're in the write mood, wish the U.S. happy birthday
05/07/01: Killing McVeigh will wound us all
05/01/01: Dubya reinforcing negative GOP stereotypes?

Up

Reprinted by permission, The Kansas City Star, Copyright 2001. All rights reserved