Monday, Dec. 28, 2009


One word, two meanings. Moment as in momentary, an event or passion that is here, now, quick — then gone. Bush's last press conference, Madoff's comeuppance, a presidential puppy, Tiger's bad lie. Steroid scandals, swine-flu panics, airplane pilots good and bad. Already these fragments have the memorial feeling of snapshots in an old shoe box. But the other meaning is moment as in momentous, things that mattered in some lasting way, images destined not for shoe boxes but for history books. A year that dawned to the chime of change soon got bogged down in intractable troubles. No subject appeared more often on this page than the conflicts raging in the volatile crescent from Iraq and Iran to Afghanistan and Pakistan. Second place went to our sour economy's ups and downs — the job losses and con artists, the green shoots and Black Fridays. Struggle abroad and struggle at home: surely those were defining glimpses of this Moment in our history.