By Bruce C. Swaffield
CLEVELAND, OHIO (Sunday, October 7) -- People here were coming home from church. Some were going out to dinner. Others were at a football game. Many, however, were in front of their television sets, listening intently as they h
The strike was the first major offensive by the United States military since the September 11 terrorist attacks in New York, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania.
With the aid of troops from Great Britain, the U.S. began what is being described as the first wave of bombings in Afghanistan which are certain to occur throughout the coming days and weeks.
In Northeastern, Ohio, there was guarded reaction to the recent bombings. Police and federal agents were put on "high alert," while Air Force jets flew over Cleveland Municipal Stadium where more than 50,000 fans were enjoying a football game between the Browns and Chargers. Throughout the region, it was a typical fall day -- cool and clear -- though the events occuring some 8,000 miles away were anything but normal. As people in cities like Cleveland, Akron and Canton cut their grass, played baseball or went shopping at the mall, bombs were dropping in the capital
city of Kabal. There were no early estimates of damage to the main center of Afghanistan. According to reports, the outcome of the strike will not be known until morning.
There is a tense feeling among the people in the Midwest these days. Everyone is friendly, but cautious. No one seems to know what will happen next. Even worse, they do not know where something will happen next. Everywhere there is talk of all kinds of things: terrorists using chemical warfare, terrorists randomly shooting at cars from bridges, terrorists poisoning the local water supply, terrorists blowing up apartment buildings, terorists storming university campuses.
These are things that people here have never even thought about before three weeks ago. Now, such ideas are almost commonplace. People talk as they wait for the next incident. Yet all they can do is wait.
President George W. Bush has told the nation that this will be a long "war." There is definitely a resolve among those in the area. People seem determined to win this war and not be defeated by terrorists who hide behind a mask of so-called religious righteousness.
In the meantime, the people all over Ohio will wait. And they will pray. If this is indeed a jihad, a holy war, then they are confident that their God will guide and protect this country. They will not allow terrorism or fear to control their lives.