Jaroslav Verner — my dad

This has been a very quiet, but highly emotional day. I went to church with Lois this morning and we stayed on for conversation with several others. We talked about feelings, thoughts, fears of what the significance for our community and country might be of the horrors of last Tuesday. I think it safe to say that there is much confusion and sadness in people this day. Many of us are trying to understand. The anger of the first days has transformed to much more confusing emotions and thoughts. While it is easy to say this is war people were asking against whom and what will be done, how will the war be pursued. One of the ladies tried to argue that Christians should forgive and not retaliate. I replied that I did not think that would be a viable option because the people would not allow it on the one hand, and on the other, this would hardly shame the perpetrators and their ilk into good behavior. Those terrorists that survive, not from the planes, but those working with them and elsewhere, would love to have us turn the other cheek! This afternoon we watched the memorial service from Riverside Church in New York. And, of course, we have talked and talked and talked.


It seems clear that there will be a strike of some kind somewhere. How soon it will come in not clear. Personally I hope that we take our time and get it right. Bush is probably right when he says it will be a long conflict to rid the world of these particular thugs. Hopefully we as a country will that the strength of character to stay the course; to not let emotions get out of hand or try to find solace by striking out against Americans who might be Muslims. We need to react as a secular society and not as a religious one. The worst thing that could possibly happen is for the conflict to take a religious hue. There are extremist on both sides, witness Pat Robertson.


Both of the girls have been putting long hours into the Rescue Squad. Laura was up all night because Dave had terrible migraine which took him to the emergency room at the hospital. This morning she had to report to the Squad because she was the medic on duty. Sunday night is here regular duty night so she may be there over night too. Lida is going back to the Pentagon for a good part of the night. She said that they and the firemen have be instructed to keep their vehicles locked and guarded when on calls or away from the Squad. Seems that there is a threat that there will be attempts to steal ambulances or fire trucks. Lida said they were taking the threats seriously. These vehicles are the only ones which can get through police lines. She is also on the short list if FEMA wants medic units to go to New York. Medics role is to make sure the rescue teams, firemen and others working on the sites have the care needed when needed.


This past Friday Bohumil Klepetko, Chief Editor of the News Department of Czech TV, was here for dinner. He and three other Czechs journalists are here to try to understand the connection between the media and foreign policy. Their first appointment on Tuesday morning was at the Pentagon. They were waiting in the main lobby waiting for their escort to show up when the sales ladies in the gift shop started running around in a distracted manner. He said his thought at the time was "what are those crazy Americans doing?" Just then a security officer showed up and told them to evacuate the building immediately. It was only when they left the building and saw the black cloud they realized something was terribly wrong. He said that they had heard nothing nor did they feel anything. I thought this interesting in light of the press reports that the entire building shook. The journalists needed to call their offices with the news so they hailed a cab and headed back to their hotel. They did get over river by going down river to cross rather than the bridges near the Pentagon because they were already closed.


Everyone says that life will never be the same in the future. I guess that is true, but just what the changes will be is unclear, at least to me. We will have to wait to see how this all develops, but I am not looking forward to it. In the mean time I think we need to get the country back to something resembling normal.


Sorry to have run on so.


Jaroslav J. Verner
September 2001
Bethesda, MD