Peace and Pain in Shared Remembrance

Fourteen years. I was in bed at my friend Carolyn’s house and a friend called wondering if I’d heard.

We’d both lived in New York, though neither of us had known each other then.

I’d watched those towers out the front windows of my office every day for years. They were skyline, they were part of the what seemed like the miraculous world I inhabited. I’d visited. I’d eaten there. I’d gone to a wedding there at the restaurant, in a corner of two windows in the midst of a thunder storm, happening below us.

And although I don’t believe I knew anyone who died, I knew their friends.

I went back a month later and it smelled like death. Of course it did, bodies were still being found. Sometimes there were no bodies, simply wedding rings, watches and memories.

As most of us stood there, stunned, people bounced out of their limo to run up laughing and take their pictures, already drunk at 10:00 am. There was a guy selling hot dogs and souvenir people making money on memories and horror. And the rest of us stood and prayed… My guess is many of us didn’t have words to those prayers or even know to whom we prayed… We were together.

And so many people were missing. Lost. Gone.

Our lives were forever changed.

And now there are others whose lives have been destroyed by the same fanaticism that brought the towers down.

There was a picture of a train station in Hungary where shoes are lined up waiting for people who have walked and walked. Another shows people waiting for the refugees as they arrive in Germany. My mind can’t stop making comparisons to pictures from WWII when people were forced to leave their possessions on the ground and get on the trains.

All these people coming. Will we welcome them?

Can there ever be Peace if we do not?

Even if there can be Peace in the world, can there be Peace in our hearts if we do nothing? There’s a new Moon in two days. Tomorrow is the last of the Fruit Moon. What will we harvest in the Harvest Moon?


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