In Memory

This wall I was many a weary month in finishing, and yet never thought myself safe till it was done. – DEFOE, Robinson Crusoe

Tonight I’m pretty sure I’ve had meltdown. I find myself watching Sabrina the Teenage Witch on the telly because that is all there is…unless I watch more of the horror unfolding back east. The horror actually touched my life personally today as I found out that two executives who were clients of mine were on the two planes out of Boston that crashed into the WTC Towers. One on each plane. To top it off, I’ve been having running conversations with my boss who is in NYC and watched the whole deal unfold. She can’t get back to her hotel and is still walking around in the clothes she started the day in…grimy and covered in the dust of destruction. Every time we talk, this amazingly brilliant corporate attorney who specializes in big deal mergers and acquisitions turns into a weepy mess as she relives the horrors she’s witnessed.

I feel myself shutting down and as I do, a quote from Robinson Crusoe comes to mind and I wonder if the “bunker mentality” has come over me. Will I ever feel safe again? Will we ever be able to move forward…in freedom without having to have armed US Marshalls “on all domestic flights.” Will my friends of Arab descent ever be able to walk freely in this country–their country–without feeling the stares and suspicious thoughts of those around them. Will I be one of those people…always a little bit leary, afraid that one day it will be me on the telly with one of the news anchors explaining how my “friend” seemed so normal. God I hope not! I want to be able to live life like I’ve always known it…without worry. I know I’m a dreamer and it pisses me off that I’ve been thrown this god-awful reality curve and that it has to be in my face 24/7.

For a while today I turned off the TV and took a long walk on the beach. The sun was shining, the weather was perfect and for a few minutes I almost thought life was back to normal. Of course I was rather rudely awakened by some joggers who could talk of nothing else but the latest news on the whole ordeal. Yesterday I found it so odd to be looking toward Los Angeles International Airport and see absolutely no planes taking off over the ocean. Today, it was weirder still to see two planes take off. Just two. I was out there for over two hours. Usually I would have seen as many as two planes taking off at the same time coming every few minutes. Life has changed. I guess I’ll just have to figure that into my dreams now.

I had a conversation with a friend today who went on for a long time about his anger about this whole terrorist situation. He seemed so angry towards Arabs in general. I told him that he should be “nice” since you can’t blame all Arabs for the actions of a few sick and twisted individuals. Who knows, it could be like the OKC bombing where it turned out to be an all-American boy who did the dastardly deed. But I understand where he’s coming from…he spent time over in Saudi Arabia during the Gulf War and saw a lot sh*t that I’ve never had to witness.

So much is fighting for dominance in my mind. I wonder if sleep will come. I pray for the silence that will soon envelope me. Maybe the sunrise will hold off for a few minutes and I’ll actually rest…in silence and for a few moments feel PEACE!

Written September 12, 2001 – Today we remember all those who perished in those hateful attacks on American soil and we also remember all our brave men and women who have died following their Commander-in-Chief’s orders. We continue to wish that more, much more, energy had been placed in chasing down and severly punishing the master-mind and financier of that awful day – Osama bin Laden.

Categories: 9/11, Life | 1 Comment

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One thought on “In Memory

  1. Noni

    Yes Jonathan! What a horrific day indeed. I was watching TV that morning and witnessed the horrors as they continued to unfold for what seemed like an eternity. I was numb from shock! After all, this is America! These types of catastrophes are unleashed on foreign soils, not here in the US. I couldn’t even cry. My mind was racing as I prayed.

    I thought of my friend who resides in NY, and lived near the Towers. When I was able to think clearly, I picked up the phone and called her. She answered in her normal cheerful voice and said, “Hey! It’s great to hear your voice! How are you doing?” I calmly said, “Pat! Have you no idea what is transpiring in your city at this very moment???” She hadn’t been watching TV and was clueless. At that moment, I could hear sirens blaring on the other end of the line…she screamed out…”Oh my God! Both of the Towers are engulfed in flames….I can see them from my window! What in the world is happening???” I quickly briefed her and told her to hang up and listen to the news. She might need to move to safer quarters…..I sat glued to the TV for endless hours. How could this be happening? Why is it happening? Who is responsible for this atrocious attack?

    I was jolted into the realization that life was no longer going to be the same for many reasons. I had already begun listening to my Christmas CD’s about peace and love and fun times. Then Celine Dion’s voice seemed to echo in my ears – One song in particular (which is not a Christmas song) reverberated ~ ‘The Prayer.’

    The lyrics are beautiful and the peaceful, calming music added the finishing touch. The lyrics are:

    I pray You’ll be our eyes
    And watch us where we go
    And help us to be wise
    In times when we don’t know
    Let this be our prayer
    When we lose our way

    Lead us to a place
    Guide us with Your grace
    To a place where we’ll be safe

    I pray we’ll find Your light
    And hold it in our hearts
    When stars go out each night
    Remind us where You are
    Let this be our prayer
    When shadows fill our day

    Oh Lord, lead us to a place, oh my
    Guide us with Your grace
    Give us faith so we’ll be safe

    A world where pain and sorrow will be ended
    And every heart that’s broken will be mended
    And we’ll remember we are all God’s children
    Reaching out to touch you, reaching to the sky

    We ask that life be kind
    And watch us from above
    We hope each soul will find
    Another soul to love

    Let this be our prayer
    Just like every child
    Needs to find a place
    Guide us with Your grace
    Give us faith so we’ll be safe

    Somehow that song imparted solace to my soul and the Lord reminded me that I will always be safe in His Hands. I’m sheltered in His arms. I began quoting the 91st Psalm which is always comforting to me. In the moments that followed, I sensed that life, as I had once enjoyed it, would not be the same ~ the security I felt from living in America, the freedoms we’ve always enjoyed, and the realization that I too might feel a little apprehensive about Muslims in general ~ I might ‘feel’ the same towards Middle Easterners. I felt a painful twinge of sorrow. In the days that followed, I didn’t seem to enjoy music as I once had nor the lighthearted conversations with my friends as I once did. My heart was burdened and I didn’t feel like smiling. I’ve moved far from that heaviness today but I’ll always remember.

    The evening of the attack, Leo and I joined thousands of others in downtown Houston for a candle light vigil. I noticed an Arab couple, with their two small children, walking just to the right of us. The young man, was probably no more than 30 and was clutching a baby girl in his arms. He gazed straight ahead with a determined look. His young wife was holding onto the hand of her small son. She was wearing a burqa. Her dark eyes were peering through the small opening and I definitely detected terror in her eyes. I began weeping and my heart melted. I loved this lady! It was genuine. I was filled with compassion for her and her family. I wanted to hold her in my arms. I smiled at her and she made a slight waving gesture with her hand and nodded slowly. I felt we connected. I believe we were one in spirit at that moment. I needed her to know and she needed my understanding. We were two ladies, with ordinary lives, who loved our family and friends, who enjoyed living in this great country but whose lives had been severely jolted and suddenly thrown off course in a matter of moments. What courage they exhibited to join this vast group of angry, grieving people who were confused and outraged and felt violated over the actions of the Arab terrorists.

    I knew I would never harbor hatred nor anger nor judgment towards these beautiful Arab people who had no control over the actions of the terrorists. Leo and I have several friends from the Middle East and India. They have been business partners and friends. We love them all. They are good people and have even asked us to pray specifically with them about situations in their lives. That is an honor! Our friends from India invited us into their home to spend the time with them when Hurricane Katrina struck. God has placed these people into our personal lives for a reason. We don’t intend to fail them. People need people! We all need love and affirmation.

    I pray God will continue to bless our great nation. God bless us all!

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