It’s hard to believe that it has been 20 years since the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
I remember my father being particularly saddened by the scenes of destruction in New York City, the first place he called home when he arrived in America. My father had a passion for global affairs, especially those where repressed people were uprising. He wrote many letters to the editor over the years, discussing political affairs not only in his homeland of Northern Ireland but in Africa and the Middle East. He was an avid reader of large tomes on military policy and strategy. I wish I’d had deeper discussions with my father about world events. One of the worst aspects of dementia for my father was losing the ability to read, his favorite hobby.
I hope you’ll have time today to reflect and spend time with loved ones.
As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a journalist and I’m often required to cover tragedies like the Paris terrorist attacks. In this digital age, where we are all just a tweet or a Facebook post away from another even if we are physically an ocean apart, watching the horrific scene unfold virtually live was chilling.
It’s also soul-draining to watch the death toll steadily rise, and watch the videos of the blasts and people running and screaming for their lives, as CNN and other news network repeatedly air the footage.
Artwork created by Jean Jullien.
While the evil forces at work seem almost impossible to defeat, there are always signs of humanity, even in the darkest of times. For example, there were reports of strangers in the area opening up their homes to people fleeing the multiple attack scenes. These people offered shelter to those who needed it most, and did so without prompting. In an example of technology being used for good, a Twitter hashtag was set up so that those escaping could find a nearby safe haven. Churches and temples also opened their doors.
There was also a restaurant in the area of the attacks that was placed on lockdown for several hours. Though it’s doubtful that anyone had an appetite as word spread about what was happening around them, the restaurant served everyone a lovely meal. The staff said they were just doing their jobs. This was the definition of comfort food, offering sustenance to the weary.
It makes me think, on a much more personal level, how strangers and acquaintances have offered me comfort in my darkest days of caregiving. Even in the worst of times, there are people around us willing to make a difference, to offer a helping hand.
To those near and far, who offer comfort to those who need it the most, thank you.