Dear Faculty:

Thank you for your patience as we have all endured the numbing terror inflicted on our great land by insane barbarians. The issues surrounding the Texas Society for Gastroenterology and Endoscopy Annual Meeting are indeed an inconsequential annoyance compared to the intense pain and suffering of the innocent and brave victims and their families. Yet decisions have had to be made with respect to the meeting.

Despite the physical and emotional destruction of the recent days' events, we have decided to proceed with the meeting. The decision to proceed is based on several key issues:

  1. The primary objective of the meeting is to advance the art and science of GI medicine on behalf of and for the benefit of our patients. While we have watched in terror the senseless death and destruction, we also know that every day our patients (and we ourselves) have to deal with the fear of colon cancer and other GI disorders over which we have a much greater potential for prevention, control, and cure. The annual toll of pain, suffering, and death from these diseases exceeds that of any terrorist act.

  2. While the thought of getting on an airplane is unsettling, the real risk is not for travel this weekend or next week but for six months, a year, or five years from now. There will never be any real protection from these planned random acts of violence. If we are to yield to the terrorists, we must commit to never fly again. It would be akin to staying inside for the rest of our lives to avoid a bolt of lightning.
    Tom Deas Jr., MD
    Program Chairman

(This meeting, which had been planned years in advance, was held in Fort Worth September 14 to 16. It drew primarily a drive-in audience of 379 registrants, with 53 cancellations.)

Dear Program Participants:

Flying the flag is not enough. I have received several messages asking whether the International Conference of Foot Biomechanics and Orthotic Therapy in Miami Beach, November 9 to 11, will be canceled because of the tragedy [of September 11]. Everyone needs to know that answer is a firm and resounding NO CANCELLATION.

I believe that if we let this tragedy change our outward lives, even slightly, we are sending the wrong message and encouraging future terrorist action. The last generation, some call The Greatest Generation, had to sacrifice hugely to maintain our way of life. This generation can afford to be inconvenienced and take small risks to continue that way of life. If we do, the next generation may not have to suffer similar acts of senseless violence.

Not only should we go to every meeting, seminar, and vacation we planned before the tragedy, we should also visit another city, stay in a hotel for a weekend, and rent a car.

Flying the flag is important, but it is not enough! Do something.

See you in Miami.
Paul R. Scherer, D.P.M.
Scientific Chairman

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