Sunday, September 12, 2004

Thoughts on yesterday

Thank you UCL and Gary for commenting on my post yesterday. Really, no words are appropriate. I was struck by what Mayor Bloomberg said yesterday. From memory:

A child who loses a parent is called an orphan. A man who loses a wife is called a widower. A woman who loses her husband is a widow. There are no words for to describe a parent who has lost her child.

Words do fail, but in the face of the most terrible of tragedies people have consistently shown that there is nothing that we cannot overcome. In June 1940 many were predicting the imminent fall of Britain. Just a few years later people looked at the devastation in Europe and wondered how the continent would ever rise again. And it is not just the wars, but also the terrible might of nature. It is, quite possibly, the greatest thing about the human spirit - that people can triumph over all the adversities that challenge us. Three years ago people were talking of economic meltdown, of the crushing of the American Spirit. Well, from where I am sitting, whatever else has happened in these last three years, the American spirit remains indomitable, and most definitely uncrushed. This is because America is not made up of symbols, it is made up of people. And people persevere.

Likewise I think that there are really no words to express the many and deep links between our two countries. I have read various books and articles that either support or disagree with the "special relationship". All of them, I feel, missed a very substantial point - that, as UCL said, the connection between our peoples is more than an alliance of governments. Today London and New York are slowly morphing into a shared entity - as shared as a physical separation of several thousand miles will allow. More and more our culture is merging. In Europe the French, and others, often speak of Anglo-American culture, seeing there to be no significant difference between the two. I think that they are right.

We are two peoples separated by nothing more than a body of water. I do not know for how long the North Atlantic has been deprecatingly referred to as a "pond" - surely one of the least appropriate of names for that violent ocean - but it has been for many years. And today that pond is smaller than ever.

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