This Week's Herman Trend Alert

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  The Herman Trend Alert

September 11, 2002

Uncertainty

One year ago, the world was jolted by a series of completely unanticipated terrorist acts. No one was prepared for the destruction and devastation of these attacks: The impact was far-reaching and burned forever into our memories.

The unprecedented attacks on the United States caused death and physical injury. Even more, the shock of the events had a deep psychological affect-- -in the United States and around the world. A new level of vulnerability had been exposed, shattering the sense of security treasured by Americans and other citizens of the world who had taken comfort in America's strength.

The immediate human reaction was to return home, to gather with family and feel the strength of those bonds so often taken for granted. Families that were geographically dispersed came together, even if only by telephone. People felt a strong need to connect, to experience a sense of belonging. For weeks after September 11, the nagging unanswered question about whether the attacks were over caused similar feelings around the world. The uneasiness continues, though the intensity of emotion has eased.

As we continue to analyze, pursue, prosecute, and protect, we also learn to live with a new sort of mild paranoia. The events of a year ago, reactions to the identified terrorist organizations, and frustratingly continuous problems in the Middle East worry people around the world. We look more carefully at each other, with a little more suspicion and a little less warmth toward fellow humans. We look over our shoulders; we search ahead for danger in our path.

For the foreseeable future, we will live with uncertainty . . . a conscious uncertainty. For many, post-traumatic difficulties will remain vivid. For others, less connected, the intensity will fade while the memory will linger on.

The uncertainty will live in the hearts and minds of the children of this era. Children in every country of the world are affected by the difficulties faced by adults who have yet to find ways to live in peace and serenity. Eventually, future generations will move past this uncertainty, but not for a long time.


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