Praying for everyday life

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President bush had it right when he urged that normal national life must return promptly; that the nation has to get back to business after last week's horrors. This is as true for those who work in advertising and marketing as in any endeavor.

The economic life of this country, a foundation of our well-being, cannot be put on hold. Consumers, already anxious about the economy, need to see that business is not retreating and uncertain. A steady commitment to advertising and marketing is an important sign of confidence that a nation will not be cowed by the acts of cowards.

In returning to our particular business challenges, there is no disrespect for the victims in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania. We are a caring nation that responds when disasters strike. There will be ways to help through fund raising and volunteerism, and we won't be surprised to see ad people deeply involved in those efforts. There will be ways to help government with the effort needed to restore normalcy to our public life. Ad people will no doubt be there, also.

The U.S. in ordinary times fragments into many audiences, but in times of emergency Americans flock to news media for information-and a sense of community. Once again, media responded to crisis by clearing TV and radio program schedules, publishing special editions and suspending the advertising that pays the bills.

Yet emergencies must give way to normalcy. Baseball and football games will, and should, resume. Sitcoms and quiz shows and Macy's weekend sales will return. Companies-employers-must sell products, and so they must market. Ad schedules need to be planned and purchased, and businesses must look to the future.

Time stood still during other crisis events in the past 10 years-the Gulf War, the earlier World Trade Center bombing, the Los Angeles earthquake, the Oklahoma City blast. After each, we sought explanations, took actions and grieved. We did not forget those times, and we will never forget what happened Sept. 11. But we moved ahead for the good of the nation in the wake of other crises. So it must be now. M

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