All of a sudden we seem to be living in a world of superlatives. How else can you describe the events of September 11 than to say that they were the most horrifying in our collective memory? As someone who has never lived through a world war and who was too young to remember Vietnam, this has been the most terrifying week of my life. As a native New Yorker with most of my family living within 30 miles of Manhattan, I am worried sick about their safety. As a businessperson who travels all the time, I have never been so scared about flying. As a parent, I have never felt so helpless.
As the ashes smolder and we silently cross the one-week mark since the tragedy, I know that the hope I saw on many of those faces on TV, those poor people who were searching for their loved ones, is fading. The death tolls are climbing. Small children everywhere have seen their innocent worlds crushed.
Yet, somehow, there still remains a sense of hope. I feel it all around me — as I attend the candlelight vigils, listen to the church bells chime out “Amazing Grace,” and hang the American flag outside my door. I gain my strength from the amazing show of support around the country, from the thousands of people donating blood for the victims and supplies for the rescue workers, from the many brave firefighters and police officers carrying on in conditions that they could never have imagined in their worst nightmares. I am relieved as I read e-mails from colleagues in the industry vowing to continue their meetings and business travel — to never allow terrorism to terrify us.
And as I hear the news reports of our many allies around the world ready to stand behind us to put an end to terrorism, I try desperately to envision a more peaceful world of tomorrow — one in which this will never, ever be allowed to happen again.