Friday, September 10, 2010

Let there be Peace on Earth and...

I live across the bay from New York City. September 11th was a nightmare here. My little town is full of commuters. Most people I know train, bus or ferry across the Hudson (East River) every day to work in Manhattan. I like the Sea Streak the best. That's the ferry going from the Highlands to the city. It's a beautiful ride.
When the towers went down we could stand on our shore and see the flames from where the planes hit. Within hours our view of the New York skyline was blocked by a huge cloud of smoke. We could see the Statue but everything beyond that was just one big cloud of billowing smoke. Frantic, we all grabbed out cell phones to call our family and friends who we knew were in the city. Almost immediately cell phone service in to the city shut down and we realize how many cell phone antennas are/were on top of the twin towers. When we turned to the TV we caught images of people running from the smoke clouds chasing them down the street. I thought of my cousins, neighbors and friends who worked in the towers. It was days before we knew who made it out and who didn't. Family members went into the city each day searching through hospitals where many lay unidentified. The stink from the smoke hung in our air for days afterward. You couldn't go anywhere to escape it. That smell was in our yards, our cars and our homes. I still remember exactly how it smelled. I don't think I can ever forget.
I went into the city a few weeks later. We took the train and were met with armed soldiers who patroled the streets. They made us feel safe and horrified. The city wasn't the bustling explosion of life we knew, it was subdued. Shock still clouded the faces of those who walked the streets. Coming out of the tunnel from the train the walls were decorated with pictures and posters of the missing. Women in wedding dresses, mothers and fathers with children, graduation photos. "Have you seen this woman? this man? my wife?" We cried.
We went to see the Allergist Wife and at the end Valerie Bertinelli came out to thank everyone for not giving up on our city. She said we can't let terrorism take away our way of life. If we do, they win.
Now I see this preacher in Florida wanting to burn the Quran. Why? What purpose does that serve? Would burning the Bible avenge the Inquisition? As a man of God shouldn't he be using his powers for good instead of hate?
Somethings I don't understand.
Muslims didn't attack America, terrorists did. Just because they use God/Allah as an excuse that doesn't mean every Muslim in the world wanted it to happen. I have friends who are Muslim and they were horrified by 9/11. Muslims died in the towers along with everyone else.
So here's our memorial to 9/11. If anything let it be a day we should remember the importance of peace and respect.
Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me. And you. And him. And her. And them.

1 comment:

Charles Gramlich said...

I remember so well. Although I wasn't close enough to see it in reality. I watched all the news. It still hits me so hard. My sympathies to those who lost loved ones.