Blink

December 31, 2009 1:07:57 PM PST
It's a cool thing I think to be born in a year ending in zero. It makes the math part of age so easy.

When I was a little kid - and beyond - I'd think about the year 2000 - and how I'd be 50 that year. I couldn't really imagine what that would be like. Being 50. Or the year 2000. But I remember it being always there in my mind, and not very deep either.

Now, I suppose, I still can't really imagine would it would be like to be 50 - but this time it's from the other side of the door.

What's the old saw about the days are long, but the years fly by?

We blinked, and the decade's over. At least it seems like that sometimes. But then when you break it down - Bill Clinton was President, Google was something you might say to a baby, and text was something in a book - so much has happened between Dec. 31, 1999 and Dec. 31, 2009. (Remember Peter Jennings' marathon coverage of New Year's Eve around the world?)

Y2K was the biggest problem 10 years ago tonight. Or so we thought. Man oh man what we didn't know. But should have.

We talk about Sept. 11, and how that changed the way we think and live.

But Feb. 26 is the date that should have shaken our world. That was the day, in 1993, when terrorists first struck the World Trade Center. It should have changed us. It didn't.

We know that we're more aware of all this now, but we also know we're not always smarter about it. The Christmas Day attempted terror attack is Exhibit A in that argument. Today, more details about how the CIA failed to "connect the dots" and stop a Nigerian man from ever getting on a U.S.-bound plane from Amsterdam.

And while I don't mean this to distract us from the harsh realities of life in 2010, but one has to wonder what we'll be writing about 10 years from tonight, as the second decade of the new millennium closes.

No one has any way of knowing. But tonight, we all hold hands, take a deep breath, and charge into the dark night. Alone, and together. Boldly, but fearful.

I've no words of wisdom - just hope for the future. For you, for us, for our children.

So, to quote Harry Nilsson, use your heart as a rudder, faith as a compass, and a blanket for a sail.

Happy New Year.

I hope you can join Liz Cho and me, tonight at 11, for all the night's news, and for the New Year's Eve celebrations.

I'll write the column, beginning Monday.

BILL RITTER


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