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peak:

I'm happy with my paper's coverage of the week's events.


valley:

I don't get to enjoy a weekend alone.


noise:

"Say Goodbye"
Dave Matthews Band.


sustenance:

Um... nothing. Maybe it's time for some lunch.


thoughts:

I hope I don't fall asleep on the drive home... I'm behind in the sleep department.


sorta 365:

(Sept. 12, 2000)
Burning toilets.


friday, september 14th

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Quote Du Jour:
"The courage of life is often a less dramatic spectacle than the courage of a final moment; but it is no less than a magnificent mixture of triumph and tragedy." (John Fitzgerald Kennedy)

I'm supposed to be leaving Oakdale within the hour for a trip to a town near Memphis. I'm going with Brian, a firefighting buddy, who will be competing in a firefighter competition there this weekend. For several weeks, I've looked forward to the trip... But now that today is here, I find my enthusiasm lacking. I've even secretly hoped they would cancel the competition. I'm just not in the mood. I'm drained. This week has taken its toll... And for saying that, I feel a little ashamed.

There are literally millions of people who have it worse than I do. I'm lucky. I'm still alive. I still have my family and my friends. None of the buildings where I live have been destroyed by a terrorist attack. The people who are feeling the real stress of the week are in New York and Washington and in communities where families still wait to get word on missing loved ones. The people who should really feel drained are the rescue workers who are searching for live people but are finding only the dead. Thinking about those folks puts my week into perspective. Yet, my week was different than the norm. It was busy and a little hectic. And I think that's why Tuesday's attack has made such an impact. This thing didn't just affect one city or one state. It's rippled through our country and has changed everyone's life in some way. It's given us all a common bond. To varying degrees, it's a part of us and we're all a part of it. This will not be a week any of us will ever forget.


After finding out about the attack, Tueday was spent trying to figure out what sort of coverage our paper would offer. We're a weekly and we're limited in many ways because of that. I went out during the afternoon to try to find photo opportunties that demonstrated the community's reaction. I also spent the day updating our newspaper's Web site to reflect new developments in the story.

Wednesday, our university sponsored a gathering of sorts for students and faculty to reflect on Tuesday's attack. The event offered up many opportunities for good photos and, by the grace of God, I was able to capture a few of those. I also walked around campus meeting students and getting their feedback on what the long term effects of the attack might be.

We lay out our paper on Wednesday night for publication on Thursday. Since stepping down as editor, I've tried to remain in the background on Wednesday nights. I help where needed but I do my best to stay out of the way. That changed Wednesday night as our special coverage became my own special project. I wanted it to be the best it could be. I wanted us to do the story justice. I think we accomplished those goal, but I didn't leave the office until 7 a.m. Thursday morning.

Thursday brought no rest. After catching a few hours of sleep, I had staff meetings with the newspaper and another campus organization I'm a part of. I also spent time uploading the week's paper to the Web and then had dinner over at Zoë's house. When I finally got back to my dorm at 12:30 Friday morning and had the chance to sleep... I didn't. I'd like to say that I couldn't sleep... but I'm not sure that's it. I do believe that if I'd laid down in my bed, my body would have shut down. But I didn't want to lie down. I'd been going non-stop since the phone rang Tuesday morning and now that I had free time... I didn't know how to put it to good use. I finally made it to bed about 4 a.m.

Now it's 2:28 p.m. Friday afternoon. I was supposed to be out of here an hour ago but I stuck around so I could write. Twenty years from now, I'll appreciate these words as they will fill in the gaps when memories fade. My roommate just left for the weekend and I'd love to stay here and soak up the emptiness of this place for a while. I'm yet to have the room to myself and I could use the alone time. But I just called the host of the firefighting contest and it's still on schedule for the weekend. It's time for me to log off and head out.

I guess that while it may slow down at times, the world doesn't stop for anything. Maybe it's just me, but I think that's an amazing thing considering the week we've just had.

copyright © 2001, Thomas Fletcher. all rights reserved.