At a moment when our industry's focus is fixed on declining revenues, layoffs and red ink, it's the perfect time to step back and remind ourselves why we stay in this roller-coaster business in the first place.
Nobody should question the remarkable contribution our business has made to this country's prosperity and quality of life. But on the other side of the world, current events are demonstrating just how important this electronics industry truly is.
Responding to the horrific attacks of September 11, the men and women of our armed forces are fighting in Afghanistan to defend our country. Thanks largely to the electronics industry, their chances of returning home safely are far higher than in any previous conflict.
An article in today's New York Times describes the almost miraculous technology employed by our military while in combat. Unmanned reconnaissance planes fly continuously over the country equipped with high-resolution cameras and sensors to spot enemy activity. Because of the almost uncanny accuracy of today's smart bombs, our jets can fly much further from their targets, and thus greatly reduce the risk of pilot casualties.
Communications equipment employing satellite-based global positioning technology enables our troops on the ground to call in air strikes with unprecedented speed and precision. This helps save the lives not only of our soldiers, but also those of civilians in the battle zone.
War is terrible under all circumstances, but one only needs to remember the air raids of World War II, when cities were decimated by carpet bombing and many thousands of our pilots were killed, to appreciate the difference today's technology makes in saving lives.
And if this technology also enables our armed forces to prevent more World Trade Centers from happening in our country, how can we even place a value on those products, created by our industry?
Almost every day, the New York Times runs photos and biographies of the victims of September 11. If you're looking for a reason to stay in this business, look no further than the faces on those pages.
Robert Ristelhueber is managing editor of EBNOnline. Email at firstname.lastname@example.org