We live in a time zone that is three hours behind the east coast so normally by the time we start the day, those in Toronto or New York are getting ready to order lunch. Twenty one years ago wasn’t any different.
My son was about six months old and that September morning started just as any other. Some snuggles and giggles and a the desire for a much needed coffee.
I wasn’t particularly a morning person–I’m still not–but that morning was different. It was a day that would change the world forever.
I got my son changed and dressed then made my way to the kitchen which was right off the living room. The sun was shining and my husband, an early riser, had already made coffee as was evident from the distinct rich aroma that wafted in the air.
The thing that put a rush in my step was when my husband, a definite news junkie (and you have to remember this was before the internet), started talking at the television.
And when I say “talking”, I mean, swearing over and over again in disbelief. He stared at the screen and shook his head.
I was carrying the baby as I walked toward him. I was grouchy and his demeanor was seriously pissing me off. The noise of the tv along with the constant string of expletives didn’t go well with a non-caffeinated Faye.
He stared at the news, incredulous and now dumbstruck, pointing–wanting me to see.
I turned just as the station replayed the scene of a jet slamming into one of the towers. We were glued to the TV for the next three days–waiting for that proverbial other shoe to drop.
Normal was gone. A new fight was taken up and a new fear born in us all.
I held my little person to me that day and wondered what would happen.
We all thought the world was coming to an end. The terror pulsed around the world in waves of hatred, despair, and confusion.
The faces of family members who either had loved ones on the planes or in the towers, were splashed all over the TV. It was heart wrenching–even from a distance–the vigils, the deaths, the destruction… All I can say to them is that I’ve never forgotten.
Now twenty-one years later and we continue to fight “new” fights of fear and diversity.
I know it may feel like a long way from the 9-11 attacks, but right now, it’s still the covid fallout affecting us all.
To compare the two events doesn’t even compute in the brain for some, but I want you to consider the outcomes and the mental anguish both caused amongst the masses.
Consider the vaccination debate, the conspiracy crap, or the uptick in horrid acts of racism against the Asian community on one hand, and on the Muslim community on the other. These were, and are, real and measurable.
Still today, the ongoing grip of fear, lack of control, and the nasty nature of some groups has grown and spread since 9-11 (with the birth of smart phones/technology), and has been instantaneous in others.
It seems like when new threats hit, we become more divided and alone as each of us digs in our heels hoping to be right.
The Covid fallout has seen families torn apart and caused ongoing resentment towards government, medical services, and across-the-board rules.
What got everyone through 9-11? All those planes that went down that day… The massive loss of life… The threat to peace… From my point of view, it was the strong sense of community, family, and a deep well of determination to draw on as people refused to give in, or give up.
With each world disaster we must learn. Think back to what got you through.
Was it fighting? Disparaging remarks and behavior against your fellow citizens? Perhaps it was the screw-you attitude much like that of a child having a tantrum? or was the fear so paralyzing that all the ‘normal’ in your life ceased to exist?
While those are personal reactions, they can come at the expense of others.
Disasters bring out the best and worst of individuals, but at 9-11 there was a coming together for the betterment of the community. Heck, there was community.
At one point even all the past living presidents of the US gathered in unity after 9-11. Why can’t that be the norm?
Perhaps it was family, friends, and the community that helped you hold it all together. The discovery of who you can count on and trust is a powerful thing to recognize.
Unfortunately, things like disaster, terror, and world threats are real. Another “9-11” or “covid” will strike again one day but will we have learned any lessons?
Idk. People like to fight. Sometimes I think they enjoy the challenge of one-upping others in the name of their own beliefs.
When I was in New York City this summer I visited Strawberry Fields and I seriously like to Imagine…
September 11, 2001. I remember.
What do you think? Do disasters change people?
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4 thoughts on “Community and World Disaster Change Who we Become”
Hi, Faye. Your recounting of 911 gave me goosebumps. I was like you, glued to the TV for days waiting for the next shoe to drop. I was nervous and I’m sure my blood pressure had gone up.
I think and I hope disasters bring people together. There was a lot of good people helping people on 911.
Hi Heather. Thanks for stopping by. I think the world was glued to the tv for a while. Yeah, disasters bring out the best and the worst in people. Sad but true. Need to stay positive though. xo
Disasters do change people, for better or worse. It’s up to them. Disasters also expose people for who they are. Heroes, cowards, fools, the wise.
The disaster on 9-11 galvanized a nation against a visible, external foe. Many disasters lack such clarity.
Hey Nancy. You are so right about 9-11. It really did bring a nation together in clarity. I think to a point it still does. Any type of disaster or calamity brings out the best and the worst in people. Thanks for reading. xo