Saturday, September 10, 2011

Where I was

Guess I'll jump on the bandwagon about the 10th anniversary of 9/11.

I was employed at the Toledo Museum of Art and had just arrived for work. I lived a 30 minute drive away, so I usually listened to NPR in the car on the way to work. As soon as I got to my office, news hit. There was only one tiny TV in the media relations office. So many of my colleagues were crammed into the office - we didn't have streaming news video then...

Before the collective media got their heads wrapped around what was going on, I called Steve at his office. Pragmatic as ever, he just got to the day's work, knowing we could do nothing about it. Several folks left the museum; fearful of other attacks, or just wanted to be with their families. Many parents pulled their kids out of school. Fear - even in northwest Ohio - was pervasive.

I stayed the whole day at the museum, kind of stunned, but trying to focus on pulling together details for the upcoming Halloween Community event, or preparing for the next docent training session. By the time I drove back to Bowling Green, the lines at the gas stations were incredible. Prices for gas were over $4.75 per gallon. A few months later, the Ohio Attorney General nailed those bastards for jacking up the price so high. Gas prices had only been $1.25 per gallon.

That night, St. Aloysius Catholic Church offered a spontaneous prayer service. I went alone. What I saw must have been what folks did after Pearl Harbor, or after VE Day, or VJ Day. I'd never seen our country or my community respond with so much grief.

Near the end of the prayer service, we were invited to circle the altar in a sign of equality. We could offer prayers, or remain silent. Near the end, we said "The Lord's Prayer" and I lost it at:
"...and forgive us our trespasses - as we forgive those who trespass against us."

I thought of friends who lived in New York City. I wondered if they were OK. I thought of all the families who lost their daddy, mommy, brother, sister, son, daughter.... and who wouldn't find their bodies to say "good-bye."

I thought of friends who lived in Northern Ireland during the worst of The Troubles. I had made friends with a few musicians who lived in Belfast and Derry. I emailed them, asking them how they managed to live in a community when you never know if there's a bomb under the car in front of the butcher. Or if you might be mistaken for someone else and arrested, or executed....

We were safe. We considered ourselves untouchable.

I started thinking about so many things outside my little world. More importantly, I started listening to radical extremists. I thought that in these challenging times, we needed to face our fears; and these folks made money off fueling fear.

The other day, I heard a story on NPR that the FBI, CIA and Homeland Security are still not sharing information. I think I'm more afraid of how ego can destroy.

I'll attend some of the local commemoration events. I might even make it to church to pray. I won't pray for forgiveness. I will pray for compassion. Maybe if I can find a way to understand things, I'll be able to accept.

#86 of 90in90 for #LUBlogTribe

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