Thursday, September 10, 2009

Recalling a shared sorrow -- September 10, 2009

Well, folks, here we are again, 1 day away from the anniversary of a dark mark on our history. If you're like me, you will remember quite vividly where you were on that fateful morning.

I work for a large multi media firm, and on that awful day I was at my desk, as usual. At 9:05 one of my staff members called to say she was held up in traffic on the highway.

"But Donna," she added, "there's something really wierd going on. Everything's really quiet out here, and the radio says something bad happened at the Twin Towers."

I ran up the atrium stairs -- me and about fifty other people from various departments in our building on Don Mills -- and got a spot where I could see the huge video screens in the newsroom.

Keep in mind, at that critical point we all, in fact the whole world, still believed there had been a terrible accident. (I can't believe the power of my emotions as I write this.) We watched the news man as he stood in horror with his back to the first building, which had just been struck. We could all plainly see the damage. It was tragedy in the making.

Then the unthinkable happened, right before our eyes. As the newsman spoke about the unofficial reports, the second plane flew behind his head and straight into the second tower.

You could have heard a pin drop in the atrium of our building. By this time, nearly 200 people had gathered on the stairs and in the halls, and there was not one sound. There was a beat, then another, as the newsman slowly understood what was happening -- as the dreadful realisation came over us that this was no accident.

Others have described this event with far more eloquence, and others have been touched by it on a far more personal level than I was. I was fortunate to be in Toronto when it happened, and to have no loved ones in the tower.

Having said that, it's clear to me that no one was un-touched that day. As report after report came flooding in, the world changed before our very eyes. We all changed.

We can't deny it. We are no longer the people we were before that day.

But here's the question that needs to be answered: Can we somehow move past the horror and make our way toward a better, more unified world?

I hope we will find a way. I noticed a "Tweet" by Yoko Ono ( @yokoono ) asking for signatures on a petition. The petition was very general in nature: it is asking for our leaders to work toward a more unified global society.

Big ambitions. I'm no longer as young as I was in the 60's -- I lost my rose-coloured glasses some years ago.

Just the same, one does hope...

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