The 21st century was looking like a flop so far--a Broadway show gone dark. But then came a massive morale boost for us Americans and the world in the 11th year of the century. (Not a moment too soon.) Yes, there was a single April to May weekend that changed our outlook on the world.
A perfect storm graced us after a terrible storm down South tore parts of Tuscaloosa loose. Nothing like a Royal Wedding and the capture and death of Osama bin Laden to "bring the spring."
After a gloomy recession raining down for more than three years--a hurricane drowning the beguiling city by the mighty Mississippi--two wars draining our resources in the shadow of the September 11 terrorist attacks--and another bitter battle breaking out on Capitol Hill over the deficit and the debt-ceiling limit--well, let's say we felt a bit lashed to the mast. What we witnessed the morning of April 29 across the Atlantic was like waking to a beautiful dream.
The perfect choreography of the prince and his bride's magical smiles outside Westminster Abbey on the grand ride back to the palace made our hearts leap. It was less of a fairy tale than the wedding of William's parents, but that was a good thing. Catherine's dress was more restrained than Diana's and she was a fresh radiant vision of a young woman here and now. The 21st century has a new face and the world likes the look. Even the English were getting sentimental about the spectacle. Good heavens.
Then the perfect opposite. Osama bin Laden's face was the stuff of Grimm fairy tales and nightmares ever since 10 years and a thousand tears ago. Finally, we got him. Within moments of President Obama's solemn address, a huge heavy lift and load seemed to vanish from our American psyche. Unfinished business from September 11, finally found on the ground in a nice neighborhood in Pakistan. Not dwelling in a cave as we thought. The ogre that plagued us was "brought to justice" at last, the president said. [See photos of reactions to Osama bin Laden's death.]
Serendipity did not stop there. Sandwiched in between those two singular events, the birther issue raised by Donald Trump was put to rest by a wickedly witty Obama at the black-tie White House Correspondents Dinner. Trump sat glum and glowering. Now that was fun to watch, Trump tongue-tied at the fest for America's chief storytellers. As for me, I was feeling a surreal sense of deja vu, a story I'll save for another day. [Read 10 things you didn't know about Donald Trump.]
For those who felt the president had been phoning it in lately, not engaging with friends and foes, this was the weekend that concentrated our minds on him anew. Wherever he had been hiding, Obama was back in perfect form on May Day. Late Sunday, the first of May, he announced Osama bin Laden was dead at the hands of a Navy SEAL commando operation. You could feel the huge climate change emanate from Washington and London as April gave way to May. The world's heart was lighter. [Vote now: Will Trump seriously run for president?]
After a dark decade, reasons to really celebrate! It was a weekend that cheered everybody up--at least for now.