So this past week has seen the 15th anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing.
The worst case of domestic terrorism ever seen in the U.S., it still feels surreal to recall it.
Only a few years later,my niece would take a trip to Oklahoma, to visit family, and she said to me "I'm going to that place where the bomb was..." She was 9 at that time.
Only a few years after that, on 9/11, she spoke to me from her home in Atlanta, (I was visiting Los Angeles at that time). She made me promise to be safe.
"Don't go in any big buildings, Aunt Lisa...", she wailed.
She shared a tragic story with me: a close friend had an Aunt who was in the World Trade Center, and she could not be found.The terror in her voice was there, same as a few years earlier.
It struck me then, that her whole childhood had been marred by terrorism,in one form or another.Besides the attacks I've already mentioned, there were others, very close-to-her-home:
1996--The Olympics in Atlanta, and the bombing at Centennial Olympic Park
1997--The bombing of a building in Atlanta(Sandy Springs area) which housed women's reproductive-care and in a separate incident, a gay nightclub, also in Atlanta(Midtown area).
And still others:
1999--Columbine, and the worst school shooting in the history (at that time) of this country, at a suburban Denver high school.
2007--The new record of death, this time at Virginia Tech University.
I cannot imagine growing up thinking life can be obliterated in a second.
Even though I grew up in an age when we all knew that not just a bomb, but "THE bomb" could fall at any second.....it DIDN'T.
Even though I saw war play out--for real--on nightly television, I felt safe.
Even though I saw great men assasinated, I believed good would ultimately, triumph.
Even though I saw (some) police and others, deliberately injure people of color as they silently, andnon-violently protested for their rights, I believed we could overcome.
In the chaotic, anything-can-happen of the mid-1990's-to-now, what can we do to let our younger people know it will get better, that life is still good,and that good, will keep getting better, even as evil rises, and ultimately, falls?