by David Sisler

“On September 11, everything changed – including the definition of news” (World, December 29, 2001).

“For many Americans, this New Year's Eve is going to be less of a celebration and more of an exorcism. The first year of the 21st century has been a pretty sorry one. The September 11 attacks, anthrax, recession, war in Afghanistan – some people are more than ready for 2001 to be over. The hope is that January 1, 2002, is the day the bad luck ends” (The Wall Street Journal, December 31, 2001).

“From the first hijacking to the collapse of the second World Trade Center tower, the terrorist attacks of September 11 spanned less than three hours. But the effects were profound and long-lasting, at home and around the world” (David Crary, Associated Press, December 30, 2001).

For the past 66 years the AP has polled its members, asking them to vote for the number one news story of the year. This year, Amanda Bennett, the editor of the Lexington (KY) Herald-Leader, made only one entry – the terrorist attacks – on her ballot even though 10 choices were allowed.

“The gap between Number One and Number Two [the war in Afghanistan took second place] is so huge that it’s not worth going there,” she wrote.

Most people are calling September 11 the day that changed us forever. Sadly, forever is not lasting very long.

Witness the reaction to airport security – already we are carping about the inconvenience and saying we should not profile airline passengers.

Two stories from personal observation.

In November, my wife, Bonnie, our son, Michael, and I, flew to Texas to visit our son, Matthew, who is working there. Airport security asked for our picture ID several times, but never did more than give our drivers licenses a perfunctory look, and ask us if anyone had given us anything and where our bags had been. My questioner did not even look at me as he asked me those two questions – how could he possibly have known whether or not I was telling the truth.

At our point of embarkation, the man in front of Michael was asked to take off his shoes – studded eyelets caused the metal detector to go off. The man complained!

Matt flew home for Christmas and the day he returned to Texas we stood with him as he approached the scanners and X-ray machines. He was fourth in line as the man at the front of the line responded like an bratty child when asked to empty the contents of his pockets into a basket (he had set off the security scanner). With great petulance, he threw each item into the basket and plopped his dirty baseball cap on top with a disgusted toss.

Idiots! Already the image of four plane hijackings and crashes has faded from our consciousness.

Richard Reid was held off of his Paris to Miami flight for one day and then, incredibly, stupidly, allowed to fly, when he fit all of the profiles for a terrorist.

Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta says he opposes profiling because as a young boy he spent time in a Japanese internment camp during World War II. As wrong as those camps were 60 years ago, just so profiling is right today because while we wrongly assumed that Japanese-Americans were a threat to national security, al-Qaida and other terrorist groups are hell-driven to destroy America.

Columnist William Raspberry writes, “It is hard to imagine that there would have been any question had the [Arab-American member of President George Bush’s security team who was taken off a scheduled airline flight] been a white guy.” Then Mr. Raspberry quotes Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, “They didn’t see a law-enforcement professional. All they saw was a racial and ethnic profile that they didn’t want on their flight.”

J. Kelly McCann, president and CEO of Crucible Security Specialists, as reported by, says, “It’s a buffoon that says that profiling is not legitimate ... everyone who has been involved in this thing since September 11th has evidenced Middle Eastern characteristics,” McCann said, adding that his comment is neither racist nor xenophobic. “It’s a statement of fact, and to not at least acknowledge it is ignorant.”

In the same Crosswalk News Service report, Dr. Neil Livingstone, chairman and CEO of Global Options, LLC, concurs. “What we’re doing right now is, in order to be politically correct about young, [Arabic] males, we’re discriminating against everyone else,” he added. “We’re putting them in great jeopardy, and harm’s way because of our prissiness on this subject.”

The day that changed us forever? The tragedy of September 11 multiplies, because three months later, we have returned to more of the same. Will we never learn?

And while they would never make AP’s top ten news stories, we individually have many forever changes. Are they as easily forgotten?

August 24, 1968 was a forever change. It was the day Bonnie and I stood at the altar of the Williamsport (MD) Church of God and pledged forever together.

November 9, 1970, July 7, 1974, May 22, 1976 were forever changes. Those are the days that Jennifer, then Amy, and finally Michael and Matthew came to live at our house.

I cannot tell you the day I asked Jesus to live in my heart forever, but I do remember another forever day – Father’s Day (June 21) 1959. That was the day, as a 12-year-old boy, I heard God’s still small voice whispering inside of me, calling me to ministry.

There is one certain forever change day coming. No one knows the day nor the hour, but in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, when Jesus returns, believers will be changed and be forever like him. Are you ready?


Copyright 2001 by David Sisler. All Rights Reserved.

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