The above quote is from Sarah Bunting.
Every year around September 11th I reread Sarah’s essay. She was an eyewitness to the south tower falling and her story is one of the few pieces of writing I’ve ever come across that retains its initial power: the shock, horror and pain of her account assault me anew every year. But I’m also always moved by the camaraderie she describes, from her fast friendship with “disaster buddy” Don, who readers mounted a failed campaign to find, to the vendor who would only take $1 for a pair of flip-flops she needed to buy after walking 20+ blocks in three inch heels.
I was listening to NPR the other day and they interviewed a soldier who, fresh out of Harvard, signed up for the Army after September 11th. He said he thought there would be a mobilized effort, bringing out the best in America, like during World War II. Instead our government told us to take out our credit cards and shop, which he felt was disappointing. And it turns out, using our credit cards to shop was a disasterous plan in the long run.
What I like so much about the infertility community IS the camaraderie. We see the dust, the ash of disaster on each other’s tights and we respond. We offer to make banana cream pie for those down and out. We fly out from far distances to meet each other in person, to share tears, grimaces of knowing and horror stories of Amy Haibles.
I know lots of you also do a lot of work in your communities for different causes.
I don’t know if I have a point other than to say: it saddens me that the world seems less united than ever after 9/11. America has been considerably weakened by both the expense of wars fought ostensively for our security after terrorism and the economic collapse triggered by many things, but extreme spending was definitely one of the factors. The gap between the rich and everyone else widens every day.
I thought maybe after Bin Laden was killed a type of unity might return. But it hasn’t.
I was working in my office in London on September 11th. We had an upstairs neighbor at the time who lived above us. He was an American financial analyst who worked crazy hours. We would hear him get into bed about 2AM each night and he’d by gone by the time I left at 7 AM. So imagine my surprise on that terrible afternoon when I walked home and saw him at the door at 5 PM. We made eye contact and I saw the same terror, shock and despair in his eyes. “Some day we’ve had, huh?” I asked, lamely. “Yeah, just…terrible,” he replied. “Well, take care,” I nodded. “You too,” he shrugged.
I never spoke to him again.
And I think that’s what happens to everyone. We miss out on moments of real connection. And those moments of connection could make us stronger, more secure, more understanding. There will always be evil among us, but by connecting more, maybe we could drive it out more easily. And I mean as Republicans and Democrats and conservatives and liberals. I know I have readers who are both, just as I read blogs by both, and also by Canadians, Swedes, Brits, Indians, Israelis, Palestinians and Egyptians.
Do you think by connecting with others from other backgrounds we foster more unity? Or are the issues driving us all apart so deep and bitter that we’ll never get beyond them? How do you feel this September 11th? More or less hopeful?
A plaque for a pregnant local woman who perished on Flight 93. And her story, which made me cry.