Sunday, November 7, 2010

Terrorists Affects On Us

I digress this week to give you my thoughts on recent terrorist threats and how they affect all of us who have already gone through the worst thing that can happen to us: the loss of a child.

With the recent terrorism threats in Europe against Americans, I am reminded of a few years ago when I attended the Compassionate Friends National Conference in Oklahoma City. I was anxious to go there. I, like everyone else, knew what had happened in April 1995 to the Federal Building and to the 165 people who died, many of them children in a day care center within the building. Like any occurrence of this magnitude, there is a desire to see it for ourselves. And I did just that one afternoon when there were no sessions being held.

I went to the site, which is now a memorial to the victims. After passing through the Door of Hope, I saw that each person who died had an empty chair lined up in a particular row, depending on what floor he or she died. The chair is made of copper and has the name of the victim on it. At the bottom is a light that illuminates slowly from a shadow to a bright light by the end of the day, giving the entire area an eerie but peaceful feeling at night. I thought it was beautifully and tastefully done.

The chairs sit facing a large pond. On the other side of the pond is the memorial building housing a minute by minute description of the event in pictures, sounds, video and the spoken word. Before walking into the building, one can see walls of fencing with remembrance notes, flowers and handmade items hung there. The powerful emotions of love and hope, and especially healing, emanating from these messages to loved ones was extraordinary. I tried to read as many as time allowed, feeling the power of each word and thinking how I felt with each remembrance done for my daughter.

Inside these fences is a children’s park of cards and artwork, like the tile that read, “The world cares.” I was moved by the silence, the peacefulness, the somber looks on everyone’s face as they slowly walked through the exhibits taking it all in. It was truly a work of love. The sirens wailed, the fireman shouted, the babies cried as they were picked up by strangers who had no idea who these victims were, but only knew they needed help. One fireman said, “I’m going home tonight to hug my children and tell them I love them. There never seems to be enough time in the day, and sometimes we forget that very important act.” It seems like only when we face our loss, can we begin to heal.

I also want to one day go to the city of my birth, New York, and look at where the World Trade Center Memorial now stands. I remember walking once into that building one year when visiting from the west coast. The anger continues for most, not only about the collapsed buildings and the almost 3,000 people who lost their lives, but also about the senselessness of it all. What was accomplished by this attack and the Oklahoma City attack on American soil? Not a thing. And now a Muslim center may be built only a few blocks away, causing more problems for the future.

Too many of my friends lost children and husbands to wars, terrorist attacks and hatred. What a waste, I say to myself as I did the day my daughter was killed by an impaired driver in a senseless act of selfishness.

What a shame we can’t all live in peace and harmony. We came together during these two tragedies; we responded where needed; we are good people. As Anne Frank once said, “In spite of everything, I still believe people are good at heart.” No matter what happened to her she still believed in a better world. And so do I as I hope and pray we can avoid any more senseless attacks where a loved one dies.

1 comment:

  1. Read this for more information about Oklahoma City and 9/11.