Chapter 10.11

Happy Holidays? Thoughts after September 11th
By Richard Carson (December 22, 2001)

We have all had holiday seasons that were great and holiday seasons that we would just as soon forget. In most ways this season is the latter for employees of the Clark County Development Department in Vancouver, Washington. We had one colleague die and several others had a death in their family. Some of our friends ended up in the hospital and are thankfully recovering. And we lived through a great national tragedy at the dawn of the new millennium. The year 2001 was hard on all of us in one way or another.

But we humans have this infinite capacity for hope. I think the most inspiring moment after September 11th came as many of the county's employees gathered in front of the courthouse for a memorial. At the end of the somber speeches an enormous commercial jet flew very low and very slowly overhead  the first we had seen flying since all the planes were grounded. And we all applauded and reveled in such a simple thing  hope floats. People hugged and cried in relief. No racial, religious or political lunatics could take away our hope. Terrorists can kill Americans in New York City or Oklahoma City  but they cannot kill our faith. America will always go back to being America.

In this holiday season there is hope. Jews, Christians, Muslims and a hundred other religions all believe in the basic goodness of humanity. We ask you to remember the good in all of us. Think about what else happened. Look at the world through the eyes of the people who work here. Our friends were ill, but are on the mend. People got married and had beautiful babies. One little orphan girl was adopted and came home, with new parents, to America from China. We collected over one ton of food for people who need it. We bought presents for little children who very much wanted presents. And in the corner of our conference room stands a tree that symbolizes our hope.

- Rich Carson, director, Clark County Community Development Department

(Note: this was a holiday e-card sent to planners in Oregon and Washington, as well to all planning editors nationally).

Return to the Top
Common Sense
by Richard H. Carson