I had to pull my car over to the side of the highway on my way into the office for a series of meetings this morning, meetings that were postponed from last Tuesday when we heard about the horrors unfolding in New York, Washington, and Pennsylvania. I felt this eerie sense of déjà vu and turned off the radio. Just in case. Then I cried, my grief coming in great wracking waves. This tragedy just keeps coming at me from unexpected directions. When I got home, I pulled a copy of New Yorker magazine out of my mailbox. Just looking at the cover, a black-on-black silhouette of the World Trade Center towers, brought it all back in undiluted anguish.
I know that eventually I will be moving on, as best I can. As will you be moving on, as best you can. This horrible feeling of unreality hopefully will pass, and the tenacious, wonderful cord of life will begin to retwine the fraying of reality caused by the past week1s events.
But not one of us will ever forget. We1ll hug our children closer. We1ll continue to tell our spouses, parents, relatives, and friends of our love for them. We1ll tighten our meeting security, and we1ll tighten our belts for what looks from this point in time to be some rough days ahead.
And we1ll persevere. Whatever the coming months may hold, it1s clear that we in this fractious, sometimes frivolous nation can and will drop our differences, our pettiness, our biases, and our fears, and dazzle the world with the light of our compassion. The challenge will be, as we begin to move on with our lives, not to forget to keep that light shining strong and bright, a beacon of hope, help, and freedom in a world that1s often so dark.
Our enemies have shown that they can take down symbols of our strength as a nation. They have shown that they can take countless innocent lives. But they can never take the soul, the strength, or the spirit that is at the very core of the American people.
Your work has never been so important as it is during these difficult times, and through the uncertainties to come: Every time we gather together, we show the world that while we can be shaken, we the people still stand.