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Go out to public places to remember 9-11 horror.

Byline: JEFF OSANKA For The Register-Guard

IN THE EARLY morning hours on Sept. 11, 2002, I flew on a plane to Washington, D.C.

At noon on Sept. 11, 2002, I wandered the halls of Congress.

And in the late afternoon on Sept. 11, 2002, I stood at the Lincoln Memorial.

All these places had one thing in common: We, the American people, weren't there.

Usually these places are packed. On Wednesday, each was practically empty.

On Sept. 11, 2001, we all stayed home. We stayed home to take in the depths of that baffling tragedy. We stayed home to watch the compelling images on television. We had good reasons to stay home on Sept. 11, 2001.

On Sept. 11, 2002, we all stayed home again. We stayed home because we worried about what might happen. We stayed home watching for fears that did not come true.

The "red-eye" flights in the early morning to Washington, D.C., are usually packed, with a waiting list. All the passengers on my plane had three seats to themselves.

The halls of Congress are usually bustling with activity. On Wednesday, that beehive was practically silent.

The Lincoln Memorial, with Kelly Clarkson,

"American Idol" winner, singing the National Anthem, was the most crowded place in town: 500 people, for a memorial service that could have seated 5,000.

Surely the emptiness of this scene was repeated, in lesser ways, across the nation. People around the nation stayed home on Sept. 11, 2002.

We had good reasons to stay home on Sept. 11, 2001. We had fewer good reasons for staying home on Sept. 11, 2002.

There is a better way. Last year, most of us avoided going out for several days after Sept. 11. This year, let's commemorate the week of Sept. 11, 2002, by stepping out instead of staying home.

As you read this piece, call your loved ones together. Gather up a picnic lunch or a shopping list and head to a public place.

It does not matter where. It does matter when. Where is anywhere where you will see your fellow Americans.

When is now. Right now.

The simplest things are sometimes the most powerful things. These things are also the hardest things.

The simplest thing you can do to commemorate the lives lost on Sept. 11, 2001, is to go out in public as often as you can during the week of Sept. 11, 2002. Your fellow Americans look forward to seeing you out and about.

Jeff Osanka of Eugene is head of Osanka Communications.
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Copyright 2002, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:Columns
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Article Type:Column
Date:Sep 13, 2002
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