Americans are conflicted over whether the most appropriate thing to do in the wake of such a barbaric act is to pause, or to press on.
As we sift through the rubble following Tuesday's attack on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, some insist that what the nation needs most is a breather. A sustained period of silence and a suspension of non-essential activity would, they say, give Americans a chance to mourn the dead and reflect on the enormity of our loss.
Going along with this view, the world of major league sports called a time-out. ...
But some Americans are just as determined to return to normality, as if that might deny terrorists and those who harbor them the satisfaction of thinking that they can disrupt American life. For those searching for the reassurance that comes from restoring order and resuming our personal routine, the sooner we get back to normal the better.
The first person to strike this note was President Bush who, in his address to the nation Tuesday, made clear that government offices would, by Wednesday, be "open for business." They were. So was Congress, whose members wiped away tears and got back to work.
Looking backward is an important first step in the healing process. The White House did exactly the right thing in declaring Friday a national day of prayer and remembrance. But the next step for Americans has to be to move forward, to resume their normal lives, and to marshal the resolve to do what must be done now, at home and abroad.
For those who want to do something to help, to join in, there are constructive things to be done:
Give blood, not just this week, but in two weeks, when it may be needed even more.
Keep flying. But be patient about security delays that are being put in place to protect you.
Donate your tax refund to the rescue and relief efforts.
Buy U.S. savings bonds, the best investment in the world.
When the stock market reopens, invest in the businesses of this nation. It would provide a symbolic resurgence if Americans showed a strong vote of confidence with their capital. ...