30 years ago I lost a house to a fire. The local township for whatever
reasons, I forget, didn't tear down that house
for 9 months. 9 months I had
to walk by it every day. 9 months I couldn't put it out of my mind for one
I'd sometimes go out in the night when I couldn't sleep and
stand in the ruined entryway, crying. After they tore it down,
it took years
for me to work through my grief because I had become stuck in that moment.
The moment of its destruction.
Is this what is going to happen to me now?
Will the Nation also become stuck in a moment in time after which all
around it and is counted from it?
They've compared 9/11 to Pearl Harbor. In many ways that's an accurate
comparison. But it differs in a number of significant
important ways. After Pearl Harbor war was declared on ONE country and the
ENTIRE Nation rose up
to join in the efforts of defeating Japan. Today, we
have the slippery world of the terrorists. They can exist anywhere.
are not united in a war effort because this war is being fought on a higher
technological and political plane.
Those of us who can't join our fighting
forces have nothing to do except wave our flags and contribute to the many
that have sprung up. There also is the fact that once we defeated
Japan, there was an end. We had vindicated our dead,
we could dance in the
streets. We were once again safe. Not so now. If there was a beginning,
there will be no definitive
end. We will never be safe.
So what do I do? I would like just 48 hours where I don't have to find a
9/11 reminder shoved in my face. I want to
take a breather and focus
on....what? On resolving my grief? On the other hand, I eagerly want to
photograph the memorial
Towers of Light and the crushed Globe. I want to be
part of the planning of a permanent memorial. I want to keep writing
posting to my WTC journal Web site. And thus grief, the world, and my life
has taken on an almost schizophrenic
I think that what I have encountered is the emotional equivalent of AIDS. It
is a virus lodged in my and others psyches.
The usual balm will not route it
out. At present there is no cure. Will I die from it? Like the AIDS patient
lived with her disease for years, there are ways to cope. In time we
will discover our alpha interferon. And it will not
be a cure. But life will
go on. Me and you, and the widows and heroes will learn to live with the
reminders and the
pain. And our lives will all be different. And in the end
we will die. Some from not being able to cope, some from what
surely will be
other terrorist acts, and others from old age. Everything has changed...and
yet...nothing. Life must
go on. For the best memorial that I or anyone can
erect, is a life well lived to the best of ones abilities. And to make
life count to the betterment of all humankind. Today's generations and the
ones of a tomorrow yet to come.
c 2002 Leona M Seufert