Facing the unknown 

Fear, shock, strength, sadness, hope. Just some of the words that spring to mind when reviewing 2001. Each year most people have high and low points and last year proved to be no exception. In the first half of the year my husband and I had personal triumphs, enjoyed visits to my birthplace in England and spent good times with family there and friends here. In August we suffered a family tragedy. This event had already made me very conscious of the importance of living for each day and how life can knock you sideways. Then came Sept. 11 and the hideous anthrax scares. To those of us who have lived in countries already visited by devastating terrorist attacks the size and scale of the New York disaster was stunning. It was obvious there would be changes within this nation and the international community.

On a national level there seems a heightened awareness and more media coverage of worldwide events, and perhaps more willingness to listen to other nations. Internationally there has been cooperation between countries but we will have to wait some years before we know the full impact of all that has happened.

I have been asked whether I noticed changes in the American people. I sense a stronger isolationist mentality in some, a more thoughtful attitude in others, the same friendliness I have always encountered and a mixture of views on political issues.

Before this time my only qualm about living here was the gun culture, which I found very alien and disturbing. This tension has now disappeared. All of us face the unforeseen and unknowable and in this new year we will still make plans, set goals and live by our ideals. My hope for 2002 is for respect between nations and compassion and understanding between people. Dawn Beavon is a British citizen who lives in Ferndale. She is a youth theater director and works for Beaumont Hospital. Send comments to

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