A Time to Mourn

Author JL Huffman
3 min readSep 12, 2022


Ecclesiastes 3:1–8

Yesterday Americans looked back at 9/11/2001, mourned the loss of lives, and stood agape, realizing our national vulnerability. Memorial services honored heroic fire-rescue personnel and everyday citizens who perished in the Twin Towers, the Pentagon, and Shanksville, PA.

Honoring 9/11

Across the pond, the British grieve the death of their longest reigning monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, who died on September 8th.

Queen Elizabeth II

A formal protocol was immediately enacted as Operation London Bridge was initiated with the phrase, “London Bridge is down.” The Queen’s children and grandchildren raced to Balmoral Castle in Scotland to pay their last respects. Since her death occurred in Scotland, Operation Unicorn was also activated. Her funeral will be held on September 19th.

Operation London Bridge

Now the United Kingdom, the Commonwealth realms, and Territories, look forward as their new royal, King Charles III, accedes to the throne. This process also follows a rigorous course, described as Operation Spring Tide.

Operation Spring Tide

On a more personal note, an acquaintance met her demise after a long struggle with lung cancer. Anne Garrels, an NPR foreign correspondent, died on September 7th. This NPR piece describes her life and reporting efforts. We were fortunate to meet Anne as a fellow traveler on an Adventure Women Trans-Siberian Railway journey through Russia in 2019. She gave us incredible insight into Russia and her people. Anne wrote two excellent books, Naked in Baghdad and Putin Country: A Journey in the Real Russia.

Anne Garrels (far left) Adventure Women, Trans-Siberian Railway Trip, Irkutsk, Russia

Today as we drove up into Boone, NC, situated in the Appalachian mountains, we noted the mountain foliage was tipped burgundy and orange. Even nature has begun to take on more somber notes, an overture towards its winter shroud.

Amid sorrow, we celebrate knowing and sharing such extraordinary personages. Who are you grateful for today?

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Author JL Huffman

I’m a retired Trauma surgeon/ICU doctor, a world traveler and gardener. I’ve published in the surgical literature; now I’m writing poetry, memoir & fiction.