by Mike Peters

Shelby LeeAnn Peters was named for my father and her grandfather--Shelby Hollis Peters. To differentiate between the two, he is "Grandpa Shelby" and she is just "Shelby."

Shelby is ten years old going on 21.  You know the kind.  She listens to "N Sync" and the "Backstreet Boys."  She giggles when the names of certain boys are mentioned and blushes when those same boys come into view.  Shelby is eager to get her ears pierced.  Dad is stubbornly holding his ground on that issue.  She is a very bubbly little girl.  She is what my Mother used to call a "social butterfly."  She sings in the Church choir, plays softball and soccer.  She is a cheerleader.  She dances.  She is a very active girl and because of her activity Mom, Dad and Grandma are tired!  Luckily, many of these activities do not overlap.

Shelby also loves to travel.  She has been very excited about an upcoming October trip.  Her school will be off for some five days, thanks to our local county fair.  She will go with Grandma to visit the historical sites of Washington, DC.  They will stay with my wife's first cousin who lives nearby in Maryland.

On Tuesday 11 September 2001, Shelby was home for school because of a sore throat.  She returned from the Doctor's office, ate some lunch and watched the carnage--watched the replay of hijacked guided missiles crashing into the New York City's "Twin Towers," watched the fires burning at the Pentagon.

Later in the day, while I was at work, Shelby informed her maternal grandmother that she didn't want to take the October trip.  Her reasoning was sound and twofold.  The Pentagon is in Washington and she is now scared to fly.  After some negotiating, Shelby agreed to go with grandma if they would go by car.

Shelby, your Dad is also scared.  But beyond that, I feel anger like I've never felt before, anger like that exhibited by Peter Finch's character in the 1976 movie--"Network." I want to open a window and yell for all to hear, "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore!"  For you see, a group of religious, fanatical, cowardly terrorists have wiped their dirty boots on our living room carpet.  They not only killed many innocent men, women and children but they have also polluted, diluted and burglarized the innocence and naivete of our children.

The American public is generally a forgiving group.  "Vengeance is mine sayeth the Lord." This dastardly and unprovoked incident will definitely test our Christian boundaries.

I am off this weekend.  I think we may take a trip to the mall to get Shelby's ears pierced.  In the new scheme of things, that seems to be the important thing to do.

Thanks for listening.  Hug and kiss your children!  Tell them you love them!  The chance may never come again.


Mike Peters

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