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Chapel Call: October 2009

OTIS AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Mass. -- I'm writing this article on the evening of Sept. 11, reflecting on the tragedy that marked this day eight years ago when some 3,000 people died. As a result, 1,600 people lost a spouse, more than 3,000 children lost a parent and some 422,000 New Yorkers were reported to be suffering from post traumatic stress disorder. 

Six months after the Dec. 26, 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, the U.S. Geological Survey reported 283,000 dead, more than 14,000 missing and 1.7 million people displaced. 

We also continue to experience human loss in conflicts overseas. Then in 2005, Hurricane Katrina left hundreds dead and thousands homeless. 

Closer to home, many folks are struggling with grief and loss on multiple levels, from the death of a loved one, divorce, unemployment, financial problems, family issues, children in crisis, health concerns, anxiety, uncertainty, stress and exhaustion. Adding to these issues are those that the families of the 102nd Intelligence Wing and other bases that have been affected by base realignment and closure have recently dealt with. 

As a people, we have witnessed a series of sudden, unexpected disasters, traumatic losses and suffering that can rock the steadiest foundations. We may know on an intellectual level that the world is not always safe and stable, that accidents happen, that acts of nature can be devastating, that cruelty and catastrophes are not always avoidable or preventable, yet this knowledge is not always comforting. 

We have seen that the world is not always certain, safe, stable, predictable, and controllable, that structures sometimes crumble, waters sometimes disobey their boundaries, and wind that should be gentle and refreshing can cause utter destruction. And yet we reach. We reach beyond our ourselves and our natural limitations. As a nation, as a global community, we pull together to help. 

We may fight about how we do it, but we still do it. We know that today we have today, and hope for tomorrows that hold the promise of new beginnings. So, before the sun sets, I will make one more call to encourage a friend and I will pray for tomorrow.