Friday, September 11, 2009

Remembering 9/11

Has it already been 8 years?

I think we can all remember that day... where we were, what we were doing, the thoughts that ran through our heads and the conversations we had with people.

I was working at the CDC in Atlanta at the time, getting ready to send a team of volunteers on their various international assignments to work on polio eradication and routine childhood immunizations when we got the news. As a U.S. federal agency, we were considered a target and sent home early; the volunteer assignments for that cycle were canceled altogether.

So I went home and worried about my friends who worked at the Pentagon--fortunately, they were safely away at a golf tournament when the Navy wing was struck.

But my dear friend--the woman who helped me through my divorce, the one who fed me when I had no money and invited me to her kids' high school graduations, the keeper of my secrets and my shoulder to cry on--lost her sister in the World Trade Center collapse.

The days that followed brought a strangeness to life itself; no one knew if war was about to break out, if events would repeat themselves, or if things would ever be the same. And I received literally hundreds of emails from colleagues around the globe offering their sympathy and expressing their horror that anyone would do such a thing.

I think that's what touched me the most. Ethiopians and Somali, Egyptians and Indians, Bangladeshi and Kyrgyz--they all took the time, typed the words, thought particularly of me, enough to send a note.

We can all agree that the world has changed since then, whether or not for the better is up for debate. I do know this: the generosity and kind-heartedness of people all over the globe make up for the sins of the few.

That's my two cents for today... would love to read your recollections or other thoughts for today.


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