Slow-Cooked Sentences

Celebration under a somber sky

Rachael Conlin Levy

I walked past a house draped with American flags and could not figure out the reason for the regalia. It wasn’t until I saw the news images of crowds reacting to the death of Osama bin Laden that I understood that the people inside the house, like those gathering in the street, were celebrating. I find no reason to cheer the killing of an evil man, but neither do I harbor any personal injury. I am not proud that torture might have been used to glean information that led us to bin Laden’s hideout. I am not proud that we killed our enemy when, according to today’s news, he was defenseless and unarmed. I am not proud of the fluidity of the facts surrounding the assault and assassination. But I am thankful it is over. Of all the information and images swirling around this news event, of all that is yet to come, I hold fast to a picture of our nation’s leaders watching the attack in real time, of our president’s grim, concentrated face.

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4 responses to “Celebration under a somber sky”

  1. anno says:

    amen! And out of all the various quotes (and misquotes) and reactions I saw yestserday, my favorite, from Middlemarch, had little to do with the occasion, and thus seemed like an antidote to it:

    “But the effect of her being on those around her was incalculably diffusive: for the growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts, and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been, is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs.”

    Hope you are enjoying a beautiful spring.

  2. Rachael says:

    Oh, Anno, that rings true. Thanks for sharing it. I am enjoying spring, and your author recommendation. I just finished Laurie Colwin’s collection of short stories Passion and Affect. It was very good. Happy spring!

  3. Andrea says:

    Thank you! I was starting to wonder if my brain is wired wrong that I don’t find death–any death–a thing to celebrate. Glad to know there are other sane people somewhere on this planet.

  4. That picture…it sends shivers up my spine.

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