Tuesday, September 11, 2007

i never knew anyone who stayed on a rope like a puppydog

I had stopped for bagels at Einstein that morning. Standing in line, waiting to pay, I overheard the two employees talking about a little Cessna, or some other small plane, that had accidentally been flown into a building in NYC. What? That was just about the oddest information I had ever heard. When I got into the car, I turned the radio to a new station and heard more information about the accident and the people trapped in the building. Even then, before I knew what would happen later that day, I started crying.

When I arrived a work, everyone was talking about this small plane, and the damage to the building, and how surprising it all was. It wasn’t too long before we were all huddled in the conference room, watching the news unfold, seeing that it wasn’t a small plane, and it wasn’t an accident, and that the damage and death was only going to get worse.

We sat there all day, in silence except for the news announcers.

When I got home, my roommates and I spent the evening glued to the television, waiting for someone to give us an explanation, or make sense of it all. No answers came. No end to the footage of fire, smoke, bodies, and destruction.

I have never been so emotionally involved in a news event. I had never before, and have never since, spent so much time watching the news. Because I had never been to NYC, the events seemed almost unreal, almost like I was watching a movie. For Somebody, who was in NYC at the time, the events are real, and the emotions surrounding that day are still so raw that it is almost painful to watch even now.

I had heard people talk about hearing life-changing news. They would say, “I still remember where I was when I heard that JFK had been shot.” Or, “I’ll never forget the moment I heard that…” I had never had an experience like that until September 11, 2001. And now I will never forget the exact spot where I was standing, in front of the freshly-squeezed orange juice at the bagel shop, when I first heard the news about the terrorist attacks in New York City. Even though at the time I didn’t know everything that would unfold, or how those events would shape so much of how we live life “securely” today, that moment is forever frozen in my mind, and my heart aches for those people and families who lost loved ones that morning.

We are different now. I no longer feel invincible. I have had a glimpse of what it would be like to have war in my own country, and I don’t like it. I fear for my future and the future of my family and children. I worry about what the world will be like for them, and if they will feel safe. Isn’t that what we all want in the end? To feel safe? Loved? Cared for?

In memory of those who lost their lives, and those who stood as heroes during the 9/11 attacks, http://www.mygooddeed.org/ is helping people to build something good. Take a moment, and make a commitment that for every thought of fear or sorrow you will do a good deed. Change the world around one you smile, one favor, one step at a time. We can’t prevent unpleasant events, and we can’t control the actions of others, but we can do our part to ensure that those around us feel cared for. And loved. And safe.

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