|Lessons learned nearly one year later
By DON SHAFFER
Theres a line in
the movie "Throw Mama from the Train" that says: "A writer writes.
Always." I wish it were true.
For those of us who do not make writing our full-time
occupation, it can be frustrating. Finding time to write with the pressures of work,
family and social life can be challenging.
Personally, I havent had a chance to sit down and write
in months. In fact, there are some things about Sept. 11, 2001 that I still havent
gotten on to paper. As the one-year anniversary approaches, I hope youll bear with
me while I share them with you.
As I first turned to the television set that morning, the
second plane was just about to strike the tower. I can remember thinking to myself at that
very instance, "Wheres Superman?"
Its a strange thought to have, perhaps, but its
mine nonetheless. My generation grew up watching Superman prevent these kinds of tragedies
from happening. So where was he when Metropolis really needed him?
In the days following, I learned that those two marvelous
buildings of concrete, glass and steel were, in fact, filled with hundreds of supermen and
superwomen in the form of police officers, firefighters and port authority workers.
Ironically, they were all too human and gave their lives
fighting in a war that they didnt even know existed.
It was sad, unbelievable and tragic all at the same time.
One of the things that helps keep this so fresh in my mind is
the fact that I was away from home at the time - more than 320 miles away in Bethlehem, PA
(about 85 miles from NYC). It felt like a million.
Ill never forget hearing my 5-year-old daughter,
Courtney, tell me over the telephone that night, "Daddy, two airplanes crashed into
big buildings today. Lots of people were killed."
Though I tried to be brave for her, I cried, inside and out,
because I knew the innocence that 5-year-olds share with the rest of the world had been
lost that morning and there was nothing I could do about it.
Its amazing how fast five-year-olds forget about things
though. Shes moved on with her life. Most of us have. Of course, she had some
important things going on in her life, like kindergarten, and now, first grade, that made
it easier for her.
Sometimes I wish I could forget about what happened that
beautiful turned tragic - September morning in New York City. Sometimes I worry
what the world will be like for my daughter as she grows older. A lot has changed since I
was five. By the time her children are five who knows what this world will be like.
One thing is for certain, Sept. 11, 2001 is something every
generation will be taught about from here on out.
More than just the act of terrorism, I hope our children and
grandchildren are taught about the bravery of the men and women who responded to the call
that morning. They are the ones who turned this event from a negative into a positive. The
ones that turned hate into love.
Their acts of selflessness reminded this country where we
have been, where we are and where we are going. That is what I hope none of us - my
daughter and I included - never forgets.
More was under attack that morning than just a couple of tall
buildings. As far as who will win this epic battle of good vs. evil remains to be seen. On
the surface, it appears we lost the first round. But, when one takes a closer look
Im not so sure.
America is still here and standing strong. In most respects,
were stronger than we were one year ago. Definitely, more aware of our weaknesses
but somehow using our strengths to move ahead and face tomorrow.