Saturday, May 7, 2011

An end... and a beginning.

This week saw the death of Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. How you refer to his death is a matter of perspective, and I don't want to get into the political aspects of the event. But I think it's safe to say, that depending on that same perspective, how you feel about it will likely differ from the next person's.
I do understand, however, the feelings of New Yorkers, and many other Americans, that it was not only justified, but necessary. NYC, Washington D.C. and Pennsylvania needed that closure. They need to know, that despite whatever may come, that chapter is closed and they can continue their healing.

My friend Mark from Thoughts from the Dark Side is a native of NYC. His post The Day That Changed Everything documents what he witnessed on September 11, 2001. Please, read it.

I've heard this story so many times from him now that I could easily retell it myself. But I still can't come close to grasping the feelings that would have surrounded Americans on that day.

I never saw the twin towers of the World Trade Centre in person, but I will never forget the feelings that I had the day I visited Ground Zero last year. It was surreal. You can almost feel the pain and fear that will always be a reminder of the tragedy of that day. And you can't help but shed a tear as you think about the people who lost their lives that day, and the families who were left behind.

These families will never fully recover from the loss of their loved ones in this way. But the death of bin Laden will surely help them continue to move forward.


  1. Thank you for this Erica. I know that you have heard my story many times over the years, but I need to keep telling it. I'm not sure that I can even grasp the feelings of that day. It went from incredulity, to anger, to fear but then resolve, unity (unusual for all Americans to have felt this united) and an amazing wave of patriotism. We didn't know how long it would take, but eventually we would get that SOB!

    It's true, though, that unless you are in the middle of it, you cannot fully understand the feelings of those who are. I watched the news years earlier about the Oklahoma City bombing with a certain sense of distance. This was not an attack from an external source, but the killings were just as devastating to those involved. This brought the whole country together though because it was an external enemy attacking us for the first time since Pearl Harbor.

    My visit to Ground Zero with you, as you know, was the first time I could bring myself to even be in that area since the attack. (I used to pass that location every day.) I am glad we did go, as it was quite cathartic for me, and the fear of passing there is gone and I am watching the new Freedom Tower rise from the ashes. Thank you!

  2. Perhaps I should tell you a part of the story I don't believe you have ever heard yet. (Or maybe you have?)

    Though my kids were out of NYC ... my son 200 miles (225 km) to the north and my daughter 1100 miles (1800 km) to the south, and you would have thought they were safe, it didn't quite happen that way.

    I was confident that my son was safe - he was upstate in a small college town ... but my daughter was another issue. Remember, she works at one of the top 5 tourist locations in the world.(Actually 3 of the top 5). Both Disney World (WDW) and Disneyland were mentioned as among the top possible targets. Not what this dad wanted to hear! All of the parks in both locations closed for a few days. Though she no longer worked in one of the parks, she had a major role in the aftermath of 9/11.

    She was working at the Caribbean Beach resort - one of the hotels on WDW property - with over 2100 rooms ... filled with guests who had nowhere to go. Those who were supposed to leave had no flights allowed and those who were still on vacation had no parks to go to.

    Disney handled it well though. If you could not leave due to the grounding of all commercial traffic, Disney allowed you to continue in your room - free of charge - until the restriction was lifted. And entertainment - including characters to meet/greet/sign autographs - was provided at each of the Disney resorts.

    When my wife and I visited in a few weeks, just as we were getting ready to head to the airport an incident happened at one of the NYC airports and they were closed. In a way I was hoping we would get at least another night out of the situation, but it was sorted out and we arrived home on schedule.

  3. BTW my son was 325 km north - I should turn the light on before I type these things. :-/