Elliot Abrams

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Remembering and Looking Ahead

November 22, 2013; 6:20 AM ET


The main computer models (US GFS and the European) have, for now, settled on a major coastal storm for the big travel day next Wednesday. If the storm follows the track now predicted, rain would fall along the coast while snow would fall from north-central Virginia to much of the interior of New England.

Wave after wave crashes upon the shore, then fades to a feeble foam that vanishes in the endless sand. Winds bluster and gust, only to be followed by quiet interludes of silence and stillness. Seasons change, each with charm and fascination, each with reason to anticipate the next turn. We make pictures in this life of what we treasure and scorn. Many images are fleeting; some are played back like a short sound bite on the latest news.

But sometimes a thing happens that we remember forever. Those now 36 will long recall where they were when they first heard about Challenger. They know there were seven, but they remember a teacher launched into eternity. For 66-year-olds like me, that indelible memory is of where I was (the orthodontist's office... (when you had lunch period and two study halls lined up together, you could leave school early)) when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated on the streets of Dallas. And then, 12 years ago, the horror that overwhelmed them all them all. The early explosions and collapses of 9/11/2001, the chaos in the streets, the impossibility of understanding the minds of those who could do this. We observed minutes of silence, but they were but specks of dust in the eternity of silence surrounding those who were lost (and the list of tragic events has since lengthened).

Just as mists at the shore hide rocks that imperil the sailor, the yellowed edges of time blunt the sharp thorns of those days. The images will always be etched deep, but less of the frame will remain. For each great tragedy, it has seemed like the end of some age of innocence. Like being 12-years-old on Saturday morning and the world belongs to only you. Like the spring flowers before summer drought and insects have taken their toll... a freshly lined baseball field before tags and slides have smeared the playing surface... like holiday gifts before the bills come in.

Never mind the rocks and boulders in our relationships that seem like tiny grains of sand in the face of terrible events. Yes, we went on. And as in most times, we both succeeded and failed. The bright star of opportunity shines still, but the bitterness of what happened is a taste that has only slowly faded. As we watch and listen to replays of tragic events in times to come, the words, images and thoughts of the lost ones will have a new freshness. We shared those losses but gained a fresh appreciation for what we have as Americans.

Some messages transcend time; they work regardless of the age, if only we would seize upon them. If President Kennedy wanted one thing, it was for each and every one of us to reach beyond our easy grasp, to go for things we thought unattainable. Some messages transcend time; they work regardless of the age, if only we would seize upon them.

Wave after wave crashes upon the shore, then fades to a feeble foam and vanishes in the endless sand. However, there will be another wave and then another. We can allow ourselves to be swept under or seek instead to ride each crest with exhilaration and zest for life.

The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of AccuWeather, Inc. or AccuWeather.com


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About This Blog

Elliot Abrams
Elliot Abrams from AccuWeather.com offers this Northeast Weather Blog for the U.S. with regular updates on NE weather from a leading forecaster and meteorologist.