New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - September 18, 2001, New Braunfels, Texas
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New Braunfels Zeitung was founded 1852; New Braunfels Herald was founded 1890. The two papers merged in 1957 and printed in both German and English until 1958.
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By The Associated Press
Today is Tuesday, Sept. 18, the 261st day of 2001. There are 104 days left in the year.
Today’s Highlight in History:
One hundred and 50 years ago, on Sept. 18, 1851, the first edition of The New York
Times was published.
On this date:
In 1759, the French formally surrendered Quebec to the British.
In 1793, President Washington laid the cornerstone of the U.S. Capitol.
In 1810, Chile declared its independence from Spain.
This fight is about liberty
If you ever doubted whether the United States is the country it used to be, then you are about to have your concerns answered.
Your doubts should have diminished after watching how New Braunfels and Comal County residents responded to the national tragedy in New York, Washington, D.C., and those brave Americans who took down that airliner in Pennsylvania.
New Braunfels leaders, both civic and religious, have met the challenge. Mayor Stoney Williams, County Judge Danny Scheel, along with countless others, reached out to their constituents in the right way at the right time.
Our religious leaders, too many to mention, provided the comfort and solace that each of us needs in such times.
Ifs the same America.
If these terrorists’ acts were committed to destroy our spirit, then these hideous deeds failed.
If these terrorists’ acts were committed to bring us to our knees, they did, but not in the way they intended. We went to our knees in prayer.
As a community and a nation, we must muster the resolve to defend our freedoms. We have been singled out, not because of our excesses and moral corruptness as our enemy claims, but because the individual freedoms this country cherishes and protects.
In their world, the individual has little or no meaning. Where individuals are free, despots cannot reign.
We must prepare for further attacks, not just on our lives, but on our way of life.
Not a single American’s life will go untouched by the chain of events that were set in motion this past week.
We are embarking on a crusade in which the cost and duration is unknown.
Yet it must be undertaken.
We can look back at what now seems like trivial concerns in the community, yet that should remind us why we must defend this way of life. We govern ourselves. We debate; we compromise and we work together for the greater good.
We might argue and disagree, but we can do so without condemning. We know that well-intended people can disagree and yet respect each other. We can listen and try to understand without insult or injury.
Each of us should reflect on what we have to lose.
Yes, our lifestyles are threatened. But most importantly, our liberties are threatened.
And without our freedom, the rest is immaterial.
Today in History-
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Mourning students in class of their own
Late in the morning Tuesday, the faculty at Southwest Texas State University received a message from the university administration that was as unique as the day itself.
Robert D. Gratz, vice president of academic affairs, told faculty that although the university would remain in session, “this should not mean that we are conducting business as usual.”
“This is the kind of day when it makes sense to suspend attention to the normal course syllabus and help our students deal with critical national events,” Gratz wrote. “For many students, these national events may have a very personal impact, and our faculty are in a unique position to help students process their responses.”
I took his suggestion and asked my afternoon media law class if they’d like the prepared lecture or the opportunity to talk about what had happened. No surprise, they were unanimous in opting for the latter. I had no idea where to begin, so I polled them on their emotions.
How many of you are angry?
All raised their hands.
How many want revenge?
Letters To The Editor
A few raised their hands.
So it began. For 70 or so minutes, the quiet anger among these 40 students spilled into spontaneous dialogue on fear, retribution, tolerance, hostility, anxiety. Questions about the Bible, the Koran, the Taliban, Yasser Arafat, Saddam Hussein, the World Conference on Racism and the Bush administration’s abandonment of the Middle East peace initiative earlier this year.
Tough subjects all, but they took them on, taking me to school with their poise and vigor. They stretched to understand. Most of all, they wanted to understand.
Just before time expired, I asked if anyone had advice or words of consolation for classmates. One admonished his peers to resist verbal assaults on people belonging to ethnic groups or religious sects rumored
to be involved in the attacks on New York and Washington. Others advocated other forms of restraint and caution.
Finally, a student near the front of the class turned to her colleagues and eloquently challenged them to recognize the silver in the cloud.
“Our generation has been living in a glass house,” she said. ‘We have known - or should’ve known - for a long time that something like this could or would happen. But we need to remember that as bad as this is, things like this have gone on every minute of every day in many parts of the world.”
For a generation so maligned for its celebration of eye candy, fashion symbols and body art, the glass house had been shattered and these kids knew it.
On a day filled with emotions that seldom come in such volume and force, these students made me proud.
In their own special way, they restored a lot of faith I’d lost just six hours before.
(Fred Blevens is an associate professor in the SWT Department of Mass Communication. He is a Freedom Forum Teacher of the Year for 2001.)
Friday’s game more than football
I would like to respond publicly to the Ted Koppel (ABC TV) comments regarding the fact that Texas played high school football on the first Friday after the terrorist attack. I e-mailed the following to ABC’s Nightline :
‘Texas High School Football: Yes, we did play on Friday night. But it was
anything but ‘business as usual’ on the field and in the stands. I can’t speak for every high school in Texas, but I can speak for ours. You showed the plays, the cheers, the excitement, but you missed the point.
“ • You did not show the $1,658 that were placed into coffee cans passed around the stadium as the game progressed — a donation to the Red Cross.
“ • You did not show the
line comprised of every football player, cheerleader, and drill team member that held hands, walked to the center of the field, and knelt in silent prayer before the game began.
“ • You did not show the stands filled with fans wearing red, white and blue instead of the school colors.
“ • You did not show the half-time performance — when the rival bands took the field simultaneously in
an unprecedented show of unity as they played the national anthem and other patriotic songs — and the fans sang all the words.
“For Friday night at least, Texas football was more than the traditional Friday night passion — it was patriotism, pride, unity and an exemplification of the resilience that makes America great. We should not be trivialized.” Janis Hendrix New Braunfels
There will always be a threat of terrorism in America
Sept. ll will be long remembered as a day of good and evil. The evil consists, naturally, of the deaths, injuries and destruction. The good consists of the splendid response of ordinary Americans in New York and elsewhere in the country.
It seems to be a truism that it takes a disaster to bring out the best in people. In an instant, petty personal affairs and partisan differences were rendered trivial, and people came together showing the common virtues of courage, compassion and a willingness to make sacrifices for others. Those who are skeptical of New York City folks will have to revise their opinions. In all their colors and differences, they came together as one.
As of this writing, I’m hopeful that the dead will be much less than the 10,000 some news-media folks are estimating. The fortunate thing is that the planes struck the World Trade Center
towers fairly high up. That meant a death sentence for those at the impact point and those above it. But it also meant that those below the impact point probably had time to exit the towers before they collapsed nearly an hour later. I saw one interview with a man who had walked down from the 92nd floor, and if he made it, it’s likely that all or most of the people on those 92 floors also made it out.
It will, of course, take weeks just to clear the rubble and get a definite accounting.
If this tragedy causes Americans to give up their illu
sion of invulnerability, that, too, will be a good outcome. We have, in fact, always been vulnerable to terrorist attacks, and we always will be. Carping about the failure of the intelligence community is unfair and opportunistic — we can always expect less from federal politicians than from ordinary Americans, including local government officials. Every American should understand that no matter how much money we spend, it is impossible to protect ourselves from terrorists with IOO percent certainty.
The reason is simple: The terrorist chooses the time, the method of attack and the target. It can be any time, any method and any target, and so it is simply impossible to guard against all methods, all targets, all of the time. We didn’t see Timothy McVeigh’s truck bomb coming; we didn’t see the first attack on the World Trade Center coming; and we didn’t see the second
attack coming. Next time, it will be a different target with a different method.
It is very important that we not delude ourselves that if we give up enough personal freedom, we can have security. There will surely be advocates for moving us toward a police state. We have to resist that and just live with the risk of terrorism, the same way we live with the risk of natural disasters, accidents and diseases. As Robert Louis Stevenson so eloquently put it in an essay, the entire human race shows uncommon courage simply by living in a world full of hazards.
That’s not to say we cannot improve our intelligence community, which sorely needs more human intelligence. The gadgets will only take you so far. What is needed are human beings who can infiltrate terrorist groups.
I was disappointed to hear so many officials talk about tracking down the perpetrators and
wreaking vengeance. That’s rather juvenile. In the first place, the perpetrators are dead and beyond our reach. Sure, we can track down the support personnel, perhaps even the man who gave the orders, and kill them. I can tell you, however, that while it might make some people feel good, it will not solve the problem. Israelis have been killing people they consider terrorists for more than 50 years, and what has been result? More terrorists and more hatred of the Israelis. You can’t intimidate with death threats people who are willing to die for their beliefs.
Terrorism is not an ordinary crime, nor is it the work of madmen. It is a political act in response to other political acts.
Ta end terrorism, we will have to revise the political situation that creates it.
(Charley Reese is a syndicated columnist.)