Hole in the world tonight
A lot of my life can be related to an Eagles song, Victim of Love, Take it to the limit, Take it Easy, The Long run….but no song in the world quite evokes the emotion of this day in 2001 quite like The Eagles “Hole in the World”
Last night I was watching the “History of the Eagles” one of my all-time favorite bands and I was looking ahead to my friend’s birthday on September 12th. It didn’t occur to me till I woke sometime in the wee morning hours that it was 9/11 and how I felt on this day 12 years ago, like there was a hole in the world.
I was at work at the Truro Daily News in my hometown of Truro in Nova Scotia when I heard about the first plane hitting the tower in New York City. I felt sadness but continued to take phone calls. As news started to break our staff started to flood into the newsroom to crowd around the TV’s and catch the breaking story. I had joined them and when news of the second plane hitting the tower flashed across millions of screens my sadness turned to disbelief, shock and unmistakably fear. The certainty of a terrorist attack on our sister country, the strong and beautiful United States of America and its people; proud and enduring was a feeling that is hard to put into words.
As a young mom I never wanted my children to experience the type of horror that comes from terrorism and war. As parents it is our job to keep our children safe and of course we want them to be innocent and not know evil as long as possible.
A darkness fell over the world that day and I know that I for one did not sleep easy for a long time.
As media reports continued to filter in throughout the days following it was determined that in total four airplanes were hijacked and used as weapons in a coordinated attack upon the United States in New York and Washington. The hijacked airliners were flown into the North and South Towers of The World Trade Center in New York City (American Airlines Flight 11 and United Airlines Flight 175). Within two hours both towers had collapsed. The devastating debris and fires resulted in the loss of all other buildings in the WTC complex as well as colossal damage to at least ten other buildings in the area.
American Airlines Flight 77 was crashed into The Pentagon (headquarters of US Department of defense) leading to a partial collapse on the West side of the building. A fourth plane United Airlines flight 77, landed in a field in Pennsylvania after its passengers tried to overtake its hijackers. Washington had been the intended target of the fourth plane. The passengers of the plane paid with their lives but saved the lives of many others.
The attacks launched by Islamic terrorist group al-Qaeda were responsible for almost 3000 deaths. The devastation was huge. The loss of lives, severe damage to the economy and global markets, the six-day closure of Wall Street as well as countless evacuations and closures seemed like insurmountable odds to overcome.
The heaviness of sadness and fear hung in the air for what seemed like a lifetime. Radio, newspapers, television and internet covered every aspect of the attacks and related news.
I spoke to a complete stranger on the phone in Pennsylvania a few short weeks after the attack. The world that I was living in was much different then the one he was living in. He said “This will not break us. Together we will be stronger” He spoke of the American people and their unwavering faith and pride.
I decided then to see things from a different perspective. I focused less on the uncertainty and fear surrounding the tragedy and allowed myself to feel the goodness and hope felt by the people of America. Stories of bravery and courage restored my faith in humanity and made we want to live, not live in fear.
Seemingly ordinary people displayed great courage and bravery in the face of that tragedy and the days, weeks and months that followed. People sacrificed their lives to help others. People comforted strangers and helped grieving families.
First responders, civilians, passengers on the planes, people in stairwells and in offices, strangers on the streets. I salute you today, the unsung American heroes.
Even in darkness light dawns for the upright, for the gracious and compassionate and righteous man.