A New Era?

I walked through Lafayette Park last week, the green next to the White House. It was your ideal DC Spring evening, cherry blossoms wafting through the balmy air, sun setting over the city which still feels majestic to me. I grew up right outside the beltway, but am still awed every time I see it. It symbolizes so much of our history, our culture, our future.

Tonight, the scene is much different than my idyll. News of Osama Bin Laden’s death reached the world at 11:34 pm EST last night, and people gathered all over the country in different places- including the White House perimeter and Lafayette Park.

The TV footage of people chanting “USA” and whooping is a strange juxtaposition to the gravitas I normally associate with that part of the city. I’m used to dark suited guys talking to their pencils, motorcades whizzing by, and doing double takes to evaluate if that was REALLY James Carville buying a popsicle from a street vendor?

I remember September 11 with vivid clarity, as I’m sure we all do who lived through that day. I remember the Pentagon burning, and wondering what was coming next, and where we could hide. The years of threat levels and pamphlets telling us to tape garbage bags over our windows in case of a “chemical event” have dampened the immediacy of those fears. But if I think of how it felt to be afraid for my family’s life in my country, it all comes back. It comes back fast.

I’m grateful to my country for fighting this fight, and to catching the bad guy. I hope the head stays off the Chimera for a while. And I hope my city returns to idyll and cherry blossoms quickly, ready to forge ahead and begin this latest chapter of America- one that I hope we can refer to as the “Post- War on Terror” era.


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