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The Anniversary of September 11, 2001 Login/Join
 
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Our words this week progress to mark the anniversary of the World Trade Center Bombing, and perhaps tell a story, day by day.
 
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annus mirabilis: a year notable for disasters or wonders; a fateful year.
quote:
Was 2000 an annus mirabilis? No. It should have been, but it lacked the energy to live up to its millennial expectations. -- Lance Morrow, Time Magazine, March 01, 2001
The phrase originates with John Dryden’s poem of that name, referring to the year 1666, in which London survived the plague and the Great Fire, and won naval victories over the Dutch. The poem brought Dryden the Poet Laureateship in 1670.

The above definition of "annus mirabilis" includes a year notable either for positives or for negatives, though the term is usually used in the former sense. For negatives, "annus horribilis", or "terrible year" has been recorded since the mid 1980's but came into popular use after Queen Elizabeth II used it to describe 1992 - the year that the marriages of her two sons Charles and Andrew broke down and Windsor Castle caught fire.
 
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In commemoration of the Sept. 11 attack I would like to post a poem that my father and I wrote about it. I hope you don't mind...To Twin Towers

My mind is blown into the rare
My heart is filled with dark despair
The scornful birds flying in the air
unleash their burdens on Earth and there
the walls come tumbling, the sirens blare.

The Towers heave, then settle bare
their blackened bosom at which we stare
their torn entrails laid out to scare
No feather left, no wing, no lair
no breeze to freshen the foul air.

When Hell breaks loose, much need for prayer
but metal-winged birds know not, nor care
of human plight, of pain or share
of concepts right, or wrong or fair
of utter blight they wrought with flare

They know the city is easy fare
to rip asunder for others' repair
The high-flown towers that stood in pair
built in glory and with many a dare
now gaping graves, too sad to bear.

by Constantine and Thalia Bisticas
 
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A year ago today we were innocently unaware of what impended.

nescient: lacking knowledge or awareness; ignorant
quote:

Taipei Times, March 13th, 2002: Nearly everyone speaks Mandarin because the language was taught in schools for more than five decades of KMT rule. Government officials treated Hokkien as a vulgar tongue spoken by the nescient lower class.
 
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-- Lady Mabell Airlie, on Queen Mary as she watched the funeral procession of her son King George VI
quote:
She was past weeping, wrapped in the ineffable solitude of grief.

ineffable:
1. incapable of being expressed; indescribable or unutterable.
2. Not to be uttered; taboo
 
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In a strange parallel to "ineffable", today's OED word of the day is "unmentionable".
 
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Sad day, today is. frown
I heard some commentators on NPR saying that they had a very hard time getting leaders to talk today. Nobody could find the right words. Therefore, many speakers used famous speeches from other times, like the Gettysburg Address.
 
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lachrymose: 1. Weeping or inclined to weep; tearful 2. causing tears
quote:
I oppose the lachrymose conception of Jewish history that treats Judaism as a sheer succession of miseries and persecutions.
-- Salo Wittmayer Baron, 1895–1989, Jewish historian and educator
 
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The last of the words offered on this theme:
quote:
The State of California, which is always attracted to meliorist legislation aimed at better health, less discrimination, more conservation, and animal happiness ...
-- William F. Buckley, National Review, Aug. 30, 2002
meliorism: the belief that improvement of society depends on human effort. (meliorist; melioristic)

May we be not just optimists or pessimists, but meliorists.
 
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