Absorbed, or avoiding 9/11 | VailDaily.com

Absorbed, or avoiding 9/11

Don Rogers

And the other tries to avoid all this altogether. We know, we feel, it’s not over by a longshot. Do we really need to wrap ourselves in this blanket of pure pain to understand?

One says yes, absolutely. The other says no way. A wife, a husband. The journalist in the family finds other things to do, and to try to think about.

The wife, who couldn’t be more uninterested in journalism or the news media’s normal blather, is transfixed. You have to feel this to really know, she explains. This is the appropriate time and place for absorbing the anniversary. It’s important.

She’s probably right. Generally is. But the husband, who lives and breathes this journalism stuff, believes ardently in the at-times impertinent role of the Fourth Estate, savior of free society when not overly concerned with Jennifer Lopez’s current boyfriend – well, he’s more than ready for a day away from the endless coverage.

Who doesn’t remember? Who doesn’t feel profoundly for the surviving spouses and children? Why do we have to keep watching? It’s indelible already.

And so we live a dichotomy. Split. The husband has absorbed lots of coverage, mainly in newsprint and early in the day had had quite enough. The wife, in tears, asks for her box of tissue, and sits in front of the television for the better part of the night.

Strange timing

In light of Sept. 11 and mountainous Afghanistan, it does seem strange that the only such group training helicopter pilots for high altitude training is on the chopping block.

This is the High-Altitude Aviation Training Site based at Eagle County Regional Airport.

The Pentagon has tentatively cut the unit’s funding for 2004. How could this be? In 15 years, more than 2,200 pilots have trained here, including some training now for missions in Afghanistan and no doubt others over there.

It does strike us that this unit is a worldwide asset, and cutting it would be awfully short-sighted.

Lt. Col. Joel Best, leader of the organization said a survey commissioned in 1996 that funding agencies thought would justify closing the station instead asserted it should be expanded.

That seems to make all the more sense now, in our new realities. Military pilots who are well trained in high elevation flying can only be a large asset in the future.

Making the case

You may or may not agree with finishing our work militarily with Saddam Hussein and those unlucky enough to live in Iraq, but the president made quite a good case with the U.N. Thursday morning. D.R.


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