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September 11, 2001

Originally Published MPMN October 2001

EDITOR'S PAGE

September 11, 2001

I was going to write about the ongoing efforts of national and international medical device associations to promote patient access to life-saving medical technologies. That topic tied in neatly with one of the main themes of the Global Medical Devices Conference scheduled to take place in Barcelona, Spain, next month. I've tried to structure my thoughts on this issue, in vain. Today my mind is on the death and destruction that engulfed New York City, Washington, DC, and western Pennsylvania.

I've seen the horrendous footage of the Boeing 767 slicing into the South Tower of the World Trade Center dozens of times. Repeated viewing of a tragic event is supposed to have a desensitizing effect. Not this time. The same numb feeling of dread grips me each time I see the tape. It is one of many indelible images that will haunt me and all of us for the rest of our lives.

By the time you read this, the inchoate shock will have subsided, replaced by rage. We will have a more precise idea of the number of casualties. We will probably know with some certainty who performed these evil acts and who may have orchestrated them. We may even have launched retaliatory actions. At the time of writing, much of this is still within the realm of speculation. I am sure of one thing, however: our nation will never be quite the same.

A small group of fanatics did more than destroy innocent lives on Tuesday, September 11— they raped our collective psyche. They revealed to us our vulnerability, and left us feeling violated.

Our daily lives will begin to resemble those of many cities around the world that have been targeted by terrorist groups in the past. Cadres of armed personnel will patrol airports and other public places. Security measures will be pervasive. An unattended car or a parcel will be a bomb in waiting until proven otherwise. Some of us will begin to question if racial and ethnic profiling is really such a bad idea, after all. Civil rights will become conditional. And the terrorists will have won another victory: They will have robbed us of some of our freedom, some of our soul, much of our innocence. I find that sad beyond words.

To those of you who may have experienced a loss in this terrible tragedy, I would like to take this opportunity to extend the heartfelt condolences of the MPMN staff and Canon Communications. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your loved ones.

Norbert Sparrow

Copyright ©2001 Medical Product Manufacturing News

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