The decade just passing

Published 5:45 pm Wednesday, December 2, 2009

No wonder we have been so dispirited of late. Time magazine explained last week that we have just lived through the most dispiriting and disillusioning decade in the post World War II era. Y2K began with a presidential election so discombobulated as to resemble elections in the Third World, followed quickly by the terrorist attacks of 9/11 which redefined global security. It ended with a financial meltdown unlike any since the Great Depression.

In between were invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, Hurricane Katrina and the I-35 bridge, Enron and Bernie Madoff, D.C. snipers and Virginia Tech and Fort Hood, doping scandals in athletics and sex scandals in politics. At the end of ten years, Time says, Americans are no longer the sunniest and most optimistic people in the world.

Good riddance to the 00s. Better days lie ahead. But before we enter the teens, we should pause to think about these past ten years locally. The world is small now, no doubt. The first train to Tryon in 1877 brought news of far-away places like Florida and New York. Starting in the mid-1990s, the internet brought the world every second. Yet our history remains uniquely our own.

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So, what were our signature events of the decade just past? The Bulletin, the only institution which has faithfully chronicled the details, good and bad, big and small, will be reviewing the decade over the holidays, taking a look back. As we do our research in coming days, we welcome your recollections of the most important occurrences and trends. Email and weigh in.

At a glance, Jim Cockmans murder in 2004 was perhaps the darkest moment, followed by the loss of his vision for the old Tryon Federal buildings, now lost in a sort of real estate hell. We saw drought, annexation upsets, financial troubles and embezzlements. Still there were many positives: a new Rogers Park, two new hospice facilities, a new middle school and a new senior center. JB