The Last Straw?  
By Dave Schwartz
Photos courtesy of

It's different here today isn't it?  There is a change on the faces and in the voices of almost everyone.  It's not as easy to find a smile chasing across the face of a pretty girl or to hear laughter in an elevator.  Things are moving just a bit slower and people are more purposeful in their actions.  How did this happen?  If by some miracle you were unaware of the drama that has played out on the world's biggest stage, then you would have many questions.  Even for those painfully aware, the questions linger.  I think the most remarkable thing about the horrific events unfolding this week is that there is only one answer to the questions and it's a simple one.  On Tuesday September 11th we were reminded that we are Americans.  

You may not have thought you forgot but you did.  We all do from time to time.  With the gifts bestowed upon us each morning when we wake, it's easy to become complacent.  You have to admit it-- we walk around day to day with certain expectations.  The dollar and a half gallon of gas, newspapers that disagree with the politicians, the right to speak our mind without fear of retribution, we own these things but sometimes we forget who bought them for us.  Sometimes we forget just why this country is as great as it is.  

Take a moment and look down.  You see the ground don't you?  But if you look real hard you will also see the shoulders of the men and women before you. These are the shoulders that you are standing on.  These are the Americans that, aside from living their lives, also took the time to push America just a little further; make it a little better.  These are the men and women that gave you a leg up.  You share a kindred spirit with them and, in time, you will do the same for our next generation.  Your children, with utter complacency to their history and unbridled angst will climb onto your shoulders and scream, "We too are Americans!"  This is the way it's done; the way it has always been done.  And it's the reason why America is as great as it is.  

I'm sure most of you have read the e-mail that is circulating containing the text from the Canadian commentator.  It's several paragraphs about how America has always stepped to the aid of so many nations and has never received the same attention in return.  I appreciate the sentiment of his words, but while reading the text, I was struck that maybe he didn't understand Americans.  He's right-- America did pull several countries up by their bootstraps and helped to put them back onto course.  I guess what he doesn't understand is that we never expected a thank you.  We don't spend our days lamenting over forgotten gratitude.  We move on.  It's what Americans do.  But don't get me wrong; I personally would like to thank you for your thoughts and offers of assistance.  In these troubled times your friendship is one of the few things that has put a smile on our faces.

So what are we going to do?  It saddens me to report that the URL "" has already been taken.  I guess our dreams of a Southpark-like animated Web site filled with expletives, personal slurs and buttons to press that will cause the dancing baby to kick Mr. Laden in the balls has already been taken.

The talking heads on TV are hosting hundreds of experts, each with the answer to any number of questions.  But that really doesn't matter does it?  I mean it won't put the buildings back or bring our loved ones home safely. There's no sense in locking the barn after the horses have left.  You and I know that America is pissed.  Deep down, to the bone pissed.  As Americans, you and I know that there is no point burning the flag of Afghanistan and beating our chests at public rallies.  You and I know that in a very short time our leaders will have determined who is responsible for the attacks on us and do something about it.  And finally, you and I know that if we do go to war with another country and after we have eradicated the evil from that country, we will, with love and compassion, help to rebuild it and make it a better place for its people to live.  We are Americans and that's what we do.

So was this attack the last straw?  I don't think so.  It was only the next straw.  You can knock down our buildings and kill some of our people, but you haven't even begun to touch our spirit because we are Americans.

On behalf of the entire DaBelly family we express our condolences to the families and friends of the victims of the terrorist acts across America today. We are saddened by the actions of others but we are a resilient people and the recovery has already begun.

Those lost will be missed.

Back to