Give peace a chance

Michael Nolen

Editor’s Note: Michael’s column originally appeared in the Oct. 12, 2001, edition of The Shield. We are posting it here as part of our observance of the 15th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks. To read other Shield articles that reported or commented on the 9/11 tragedy, please see the links at the end of this article or click on the MAC Archive tab under News.

War may not be the best path

michael-nolen-mug-shotFor many of us, directly or not, the events of the last several weeks, and those forthcoming, are changing life forever. Not used to any kind of extreme abnormality of life, our younger generations have experienced varying emotions, from anger exempt from the epidemic of feelings.

I saw the last tower fall that afternoon on television; it was the first time that I’d ever shivered while watching TV. My stomach churned at the thought of a skyscraper plunging to busy city streets below. I was saddened.

I felt relief that nothing tragic has happened to Austin or that any of my immediate family or friends had been a part of the tragedy. And I was full of guilt.

I saw the rescue crew, the volunteers, working their hearts out to save others’ lives; I saw the humble presentation of the American flag above a heap of rubble by a fireman. And I was filled with patriotism, so much that I almost went into the verse of the “Star Spangled Banner” but remembered that I cannot sing very well.

I watched interviews with generals and former leaders of different bureaus, all complaining about their lack of funding in recent years. They decided to play the blame game, and pointed fingers at former administrations and other departments. I laughed at the displayed absurdity. I woke up one morning to hear of “America’s New War”- several political figureheads had decided that our country is now “at war.” I was angered, for war is never a good thing.

I saw footage of people jumping out of skyscrapers, I heard taped phone conversations of dying men and women’s last words. National news stations had decided to blame someone for the attack; the finger could be pointed at a person now. I was horrified at the lack of sensitivity.

I then felt afraid that the worst is still to come.

After this, I sat down to ponder for a while, and I actually came up with a half-decent solution. We should take one of our duper-duper-rock’em-sock’em bomber jets and fly it over to Afghanistan (or any other nations who tend to be “against us, not with us”). This rock’em sock’em bomber jet would proceed to drop tons and tons of flowers over the country. Yes, that’s right, flowers. Not bombs, not more death, but flowers. It could turn out just like the Beatles’ Yellow Submarine, where Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band converts the Blue Meanies into nice, fun-loving, pro-happiness, beautiful creatures with their music.

Make love, not war.

For more 9/11 stories from the MacJournalism archive, please click the links below:

Becca Eden, “The day America stood still,” The Shield (Sept. 14, 2001).

Justin Mitchell, “When the chickens come home to roost …” The Shield (Oct. 12, 2001).

Emily Panzer, “Student caught in New York during terrorist attack,” The Shield, (Oct. 12. 2001).

Jena Randall, “A candle in the wind.” The 2002 Knight.