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Quarles Letter - 09/13/09

You know, today I watched as the news talked about the anniversary of 9/11. Even though it was eight years ago, it still feels like yesterday when I see video footage of the planes as they crashed into the towers. Knowing now how many died and were injured that day and how many have died since trying to keep it from happening again, I think about all that has happened in America and the world since that day.

In conversation a friend said to me, "The world as we know it changed on Sept. 11th. Our children and grandchildren will never know the security or safety that our children as small ones knew."

What a powerful statement. And what's even more frightening is that it is the truth.

For many of us, right here in Covington/Conyers, Georgia, the world we grew up in and the world we brought our children up in has changed to a world that we don't find as familiar as we somehow thought it would be at this point in our lives. We thought we would be vacationing and starting our retirement plans, watching our children marry and our grandchildren being born into a peaceful, safe place. The United States of America, Georgia. While many of those things are true, there are pieces to the puzzle missing that I didn't think I would ever live to see.

How many of us ever really thought war would be on our soil again? Most people I know didn't think it could ever happen in the good ol' USA. Well, weren't we all surprised. Maybe just the wake up call that we all are vulnerable.

Now, everyday, I watch the TV and listen to people in distress, losing jobs, fighting to keep their homes and not being able to take their children to the doctor and I see fighting. So much fighting. Right here in Covington and Conyers. One neighbor against the other. Family member against family against family member.

I don't mean just talking politics, which can always be heated. I mean nasty, insulting disagreements. Walls built. Bridges burned. No one willing to be the bigger person. Name calling. Rudeness. It is endless.

People living so fast and hard and the hard hitting them so squarely where they stand that they are unable to take that stand back without being bitter, angry and hate-filled toward the very people who stand next to them in the very same line. Road rage. Disrespect. It goes on.

I ask everyone who is breathing to stop for one moment before you say something and do just that. Breathe. Do you really want to insult an entire section of the community with an accusing remark in the newspaper, just because they think differently than you?

Do you really want to ask your family member if they are "stupid," because you disagree with their views?

Do you really want to continue being mad, day in and day out, without resolve?

I hope for all of us watching our world change, be it the way we want it to or be it totally against our thinking, that we do it with the same civility towards each other that we had when things were the way we wanted them to be.

Nothing is worth winning if you lose everyone and everything to win it.

Who will you celebrate with? Who will you share the jubilation with? And most of all who will you sit with at your own kitchen table and reminisce about the day when your world changed?

My grandmother sat on the front porch with her family and told stories of the Civil War, that her mother had told her. She still had her family and friends. She lived long enough to see Haley's comet, twice. You know her world changed in that long a span.

Will we all have alienated those close to us and the prospect of new people in our lives over the changes that we are unsure of?

I encourage everyone, myself included, to put down the stones, lest we break one of our own windows, and have nothing but a rock to talk to.

Cindi Quarles

Covington