When President Kennedy was killed, my friend Mary McGrory said to Pat Moynihan, "We'll never laugh again."
And Moynihan, who later became a U.S. senator, replied, "Mary, we'll laugh again, but we'll never be young again."
That is the way I felt Tuesday.
The first feeling was disbelief. These things only happen in bad Hollywood movies.
I saw on the screen rubble and flames and smoke and death — and while I wanted to turn the TV off, I couldn't. I stared and didn't know what I was staring at. I said, "We'll laugh again but we will never be young again."
As the day wore on, I felt what so many people were feeling — anger. I wanted to strike out, but I didn't know whom to strike out against. Terrorist names were bandied about and I wanted to kill all of them. It was a futile thought because many of them were killing themselves. "We'll laugh again but we'll never be young again."
Then I started to think about how they managed to damage the most powerful country in the world. How could they have hijacked four airliners at the same time and hit three of their targets? Where were these sophisticated pilots trained? How many countries harbored them while they prepared for their mission? "We'll laugh again but we'll never be young again."
My next emotion was anger at the CIA and all the intelligence organizations that failed to discover the plots of the terrorists who planned it. It's not a rational thought, but at this moment none of my thoughts are rational.
Then another thought ran through my head. Why do you need a $100 billion missile shield when our own hijacked planes can do the destruction? The United States is prepared to go to war, but whom do we declare war on? When it comes to the defense of our country, all bets are now off.
I watch the same pictures over and over again. The buildings on fire, and tumbling down, the soot on the faces of the rescued and the rescuers and I know I'm entering a new world and things will never be the same.
Tribune Media Services