'Nightfall' in America

About 60 years ago, science-fiction writer Isaac Asimov wrote a short story "Nightfall" about a planet and civilization that, due to its position in the galaxy, enjoyed constant daylight, except for a short period of darkness every 2,050 years.

The people on the planet were so unused to the darkness, that they went mad and destroyed their civilization by setting fire to their cities, in a futile attempt to have light. From the ashes, the survivors would rebuild their civilization, which would advance and progress until the next period of darkness came. Then the cycle of madness, self-destruction and rebuilding would begin again.

From Pearl Harbor to September 11, 2001, we Americans have been living in the constant daylight, so to speak, of never having a major act of war happen on our own territory.

Now night has fallen.

How will we react? Will our country--and world come out of this a stronger, better place than before? Or will we, like the people in "Nightfall", turn on each other and eventually harm our country, in a futile attempt to find easy answers?

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