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through a glass, darkly

by mg at 10:26 AM on September 15, 2001

My life may have changed Tuesday morning, but I am still unimaginably lucky; none of my close friends or family were killed or injured in the attack. I was home, safely locked in my apartment, more than 5 miles away when the planes hit. I may not have lost someone directly connected to me, but what happened has touched my life, and all our lives, in so many ways.

My mother is a New York City schoolteacher. When classes restarted on Thursday, the schools spent a great deal of time counseling and talking to the children. She told me about one student, normally the most energetic and happy child in the school. He came in that day changed. No longer smiling or talkative, he was silent.

She told me about a kindergarten class that was discussing the events of the last week. One of the children, a six year-old, Moslem child, said he wanted to get a gun of his own to fight the Americans. A six year-old child said he wanted to go out and kill the people of the country he lived in, his fellow classmates. I hope to God he didnít even understand what he was saying, but even if that is the case, his parents most be indoctrinating him with hatred.

On the other side of that story, a colleague at my motherís school is married to an Arab man. They were watching the news on Wednesday night and he turned to her and asked, ďDo you hate me?Ē This was the man who loved her and whom she loved deeply, and he honestly didnít know if she hated him for the acts a few crackpot members of his religion.

My grandmother has had both her knees replaced, so she has a home healthcare worked come by and help her around the house. Her nurseís brother works in the World Trade Center. He got out alive and safe. But as he was running away from ground zero, he was hit by something falling from the building. You want to know what it was? An arm.

Over the summer, my cousin worked as an Intern at a company in the World Trade Center. I had forgotten that. Because he was working there, his name was on a list of employees. Until yesterday, he was on the list of the missing. And if this had happened a month earlier, he would have been there, at work, on Tuesday morning. Luckily, he wasnít there, and is now back, safe and sound at school.

I may have gotten by physically unharmed, but these stories, and so many more, will affect me, and all of us, for the rest of our lives. The attack was not the beginning and not the end. This has touched everyoneís life, even in the most tangential of ways.

It is like a windowpane hit by a hammer, but not destroyed. The window (our lives) may be shattered, the glass broken and taking the appearance of a web made by a very confused spider. We may be unable to see through the window for all the shards of splintered glass. We donít know what is on the other side of the window, but we do know one thing, that the glass is not broken. We may not be able to see the storm rising on the other side, but we are still protected from it. And that is what makes me feel better.

comments (1)

Michael, it is so sad what is happening to the children with all of this! I have been covered-up with e-mails from a group of young people that I had volunteered to go with to NY City not long ago! Those young people come from one of the smallest towns in Texas and we were there in New York not long ago. The young people are having this hard time because I think they feel like they saw something that so many will never see! We all took photos of course and we even visited the World Trade Center. They keep recalling how they stood right under those towers. One thing I keep hearing is, "What if that would have happened while we were there Tamara?" This truely has affected all of us in some way, but these young people it has affected in a huge way! What is even more strange, is on the trip they all would make fun of me taking photos all the time. (I am a photographer) but they were talking about how a camera was a second nose to that of my own and so on. The response they would get from me, was along the lines of I take these photos because something that we see everyday or that is so normal to some people can change in an instant and be gone forever. Photos keep that alive forever. These young people remembered what I said, and the e-mails about them wanting a copy of this photo or that one that they just knew I had! We as adults have such a huge job to do with the young people of our Country. They truely are affected in ways we are not, or at least we do not admit to. Their whole world has changed forever. Your Mother, I have no doubt, has been dealing with some of the same questions and feelings from her students. I wish her and the other teachers in NY (and our country) the strenth to make the difference in those young people's minds and lives! What their parents cannot answer due to their own grief and shock, I hope those teachers can.

by Pristine at September 15, 2001 3:01 PM

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