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Update, September 11, 2002: One year after that tragic day, website visitors continue to contribute their thoughts and feelings... their love and support.
ABC News asks to feature me and the Candle & Ribbon site in their 9-11 anniversary coverage. After careful consideration, I decided not to participate. My effort and contribution pale to complete insignificance when viewed in the brilliant light of the sacrifices that have been made, and are still being made by firefighters, police officers, courageous airline passengers, military personnel, and the victims of 9-11 and their families... everyday people abruptly transformed into heroes. This day is theirs.
Update, December 2, 2001: WPMI-TV, Mobile, prints and gives away 10,000 Candle & Ribbon window stickers. WPMI television in Mobile, Alabama, has been granted permission to print and distribute 10,000 Candle & Ribbon window stickers. Reproduction art for these static-cling stickers was specially-created to take advantage of the clear plastic background. WPMI has generously underwritten all printing costs, and is giving the stickers away through local businesses, free of charge. In addition, WPMI has not placed their name or logo on these stickers, instead choosing to provide this image of support without seeking commercial gain. On September 12, after seeing a Candle & Ribbon image, WPMI's Promotions Manager, Jean Stanley, began assembling and giving away candles wrapped in ribbon, in preparation for that evening's candlelight vigil. Jean wrote to say "Thanks for the inspiration!" You're most welcome!
Candle & Ribbon Image appears on C-SPAN... On Tuesday, November 27, 2001, as part of their "American Perspectives" series, C-SPAN taped a special Briefing on Events of Sept. 11, Conducted by Col. Alan Scott (Ret.), First Air Force Chief of Staff, at Tyndall AFB, Florida. At the end of the briefing, the Colonel's last slide contained the phrase "Remembering 9-11", and below it, looping in animation, was the Candle & Ribbon image (the original version with "Sacrifice Justice Resolve" inside an oval). It's great to know that the U.S. Air Force draws inspiration from the image as they work along with all of our armed forces to keep America safe!
To date, more than 17,000 people have visited the site from more than 50 countries, principalities and territories around our newly united globe.
Update, Oct. 17, 2001: The Library of Congress has chosen this site for archiving as part of their special "September 11 Web Archive" project.
From a Library of Congress press release:
This is the second focused Web archive that the LOC has created; the first was a collection of sites pertaining to Election 2000. Visit the September 11 Web Archive at http://september11.archive.org/ ...and for more information on the project, see http://www.loc.gov/today/pr/2001/01-150.html.
I'm gratified to be able to provide images for use by others, and honored to contribute to the historical record through the preservation of the experiences and thoughts of those affected by the events of September 11.
To date, more than 11,000 people have visited the site from more than 50 countries, principalities and territories around our newly united globe.
Update, Oct. 1, 2001 [edited 10/17]: The comments keep coming in... Some mourning, some sympathetic, some angry, some urging peace. It never ceases to amaze me that a tiny minority of people think that carpet-bombing or even "nuking" Afghanistan in a fit of vengeance will put an end to terrorism. It also never ceases to amaze me that there are those who think that doing absolutely nothing, or changing US international policy, or providing a massive flood of aid will appease the terrorists, and they will simply stop their barbaric activities. In the end, none of these opinions takes the psychology of the terrorists nor the effects on innocent bystanders into account. Neither accommodation nor indiscriminate military action will stop bin Laden, al Qaeda, and other terrorists.
They are not about religion; they are about power, and they use a distorted form of a great religion to influence others to die in order to bring them that power. They will never be satisfied until they control the world. And the people of Afghanistan are also victims of the Taliban and their partners. The only responsible, effective thing to do is to take careful, specific action against those who are found through thorough investigation to be directly and indirectly responsible.
If the campaign to find those responsible were to be carried out in keeping with the most desirable of scenarios, those responsible would be found, peacefully taken into custody, brought to trial, and put in prison for the rest of their lives. It's doubtful, though, that these criminals will allow themselves to be taken peacefully. It's unfortunate that they may fight those who seek them. And it's unfortunate that they may be injured or killed in the process of apprehension. When a murder is committed in the United States, it is accepted that those who committed the act and those who conspired in that murder are to be sought, arrested, brought to trial, and sentenced.
I am now and always have been a lover of peace. But saying that the terrorists should not be found and brought to justice is to say that mass murder is acceptable. Blindly demonstrating against war and characterizing the actions that the US is taking and might take as being "attacks on the people of Afghanistan" and "attacks on Islam" is to ignore the facts and to endorse the deaths of those innocents who would inevitably be killed in new attacks if no action is taken against the perpetrators.
There may be US policies -- well-meaning or selfish -- that have caused frustrations or even difficult conditions in some countries, but there can be no excuse for the mass murder of thousands of innocent civilians. US foreign policy did not cause these attacks. Criminals did. Carrying political, economic or religious complaints to the extreme of butchery is the domain of those who subscribe to a rationale that is outside the limits of civilization.
There most likely are many US foreign polices that could be changed to be more accommodating of those in other countries, but to attempt to please the terrorists' radical agenda would be for the US to withdraw completely from the world community, or even to cease to exist, as is true for most countries suffering under the specter of terrorism.
Living, as they do, outside of civilized thought and behavior, the terrorists cannot be bought. They cannot be reasoned with. They will continue to commit mass murder unless they are brought to justice. The only way to achieve peace, and to prevent many more thousands of needless deaths, is to build world consensus, trying to reach a globally-acceptable, globally-beneficial international policy balance, while finding and stopping those who are trying to destroy peace itself. When we have done that, the people of the world may finally experience the peace and freedom from fear that they desire and deserve.
Update, Sept. 22, 2001: If you've been to the site before, you've noticed that the colors on the site have changed. It seemed appropriate to do, as we move out of the darkness of that day and into the light of hope and life, and bring those responsible out of the shadows and into the light of day.
Update, Sept. 17, 2001: Many people have already sent touching, encouraging thoughts via the new Comments form. And some of those words can now be read in the new Visitors' Comments Book. ... I've also changed the words "Sacrifice / Justice / Resolve" to "Sacrifice / Justice / Peace" to better reflect my own feelings, and to encourage healing even as those who are responsible are found and brought to justice. Thanks... and peace to all.
Update, Sept. 14, 2001: A journey of a thousand miles begins... The original Candle & Ribbon images were created on September 12th, and a letter was sent to a list of 84 friends and family members. The letter was forwarded by those wonderful readers, and by their readers, and so on, in the great tradition and grassroots power of the Internet. Thousands have visited, images have been downloaded and placed on websites, and links to this site have been created. Thanks to all who have passed on the link, and to all those who have helped others in so many ways, large and small, grand and quiet... each gesture and act vital in its own way.
Website contents © Copyright 2001, Robert M. West, All Rights Reserved. [FQ]