Read how other Americans are coping with the tragic events of September 11. |
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Marie Rainey of Brunswick, GA
I live in a small town off the coast of Georgia. However, Tuesday's terrorist attacks reached out and touched me in ways I can't describe. I have always thought of New York City as a hard, fast paced, cold city. A city that is known for that famous saying: "Don't get involved."
However, I saw a different side to New York City on Tuesday. I saw people run into buildings and risk their lives to save strangers. I saw firefighters, police officers, volunteers, and good citizens run toward danger to save others, many of them losing their own lives. I saw the mayor of that city put his own life in danger so that he could check on the people of his city. I saw people perform amazing feats to stay alive and to keep on going. I saw people walk and crawl out of the ruins, I saw people carried out that could not walk or crawl.
I saw the milk of human kindness flow like I have never seen before. In the midst of all the devestation I saw the spirit of America and it gave me hope. Hope I have not experienced in a long time. God Bless New York City.
Regina Best of Phoenix, AZ
One of my first thoughts after the initial horror was, "Perhaps our nation will be healed of some of it's cynicism." We had become a nation of such cool people, where words of authenticity and kindness were judged sentimental and gushy, where what passed for humor was mere meanness. I have sensed all of us opening our hearts, giving ourselves permission to feel, to talk about how we feel, to pray, to speak with sincerity of how proud we are to be Americans. We have jumped at the chance to help each other, to hold each other, to talk frankly about love. I am hopeful we will emerge from this with a more mature, spiritual definition of strength.
Corinne Hicks of Muncie, IN
I don't know how to begin to cope with such evil doings of men. I see all the faces of the victims from the pictures that are being posted in hopes that someone may have information to help them find their loved ones. Looking at a couple of faces would be easy to remember but thousands are overwhelming...it's too early to start coping. I must say this...coping with what has happened will never be easy. Stop expecting people to cope so soon. Let them cry, let us grieve. It's too soon to cope. When I see how all this will be dealt with, then maybe the coping can begin....maybe. I am afraid.
A teacher of Menomonie, WI
I had the idea to have a club in our school, sponsor a hat day in which students pay to wear any kind of hat during the school day. They must have the ribbon that they purchase on them in sight (this is something that clubs usually do in our school). I talked to one of the clubs advisors on Thursday morning and by Thursday afternoon her club had it all organized and approved. All donations that are collected will go the the Red Cross to be given to the relief needed in the attack areas. We Americans need to show our continued support to all the victims and rally together as only people in the United States have shown to the World, that we can do.
Bernard Hoogland of Grand Rapids, MI
We really have no story. Our family has followed the news and then turned it off in favor of going to a worship service. Unfortunately, the former medium of tapping into the national consciousness through Rather/Brokaw etc can become too self-serving for both the viewer and the medium itself. Attending church has a better attachment to the reality and enormity of what has happened.
So, we have kept the victims and their families in our thoughts and gone about our business, jobs, kids to hockey practices, cross country meets, middle school, high school, and college.
Baton Rouge, LA
I just opened a book of poems looking for some comfort. This was the poem I opened to:
Thorns, shattered glass, sickness and crying: all day
they attack the honied contentment. And neither the tower,
nor the walls, nor secret passageways are of much help.
Trouble seeps through, into the sleeper's peace.
Sorrow rises and falls, comes near with its deep spoons,
and no one can live without this endless motion;
without it there would be no birth, no roof, no fence.
It happens: we have to account for it.
Eyes squeezed shut in love doesn't help,
nor soft beds far from the pertilent sick,
from the conquerer who advances, pace by pace, with his flag.
For life throbs like a bile, like a river: it opens
a bloody tunnel where eyes stare through at us,
the eyes of a huge and sorrowful family.
Carol Lewis of Biddeford, ME
I've been trying to cope the old-fashioned way. Prayer, of course, but doing research to understand why the attackers hate our country so much. I found an article reprinted in our Portland Press Herald which helped.
I turned on C-Span where the morning moderator always is lucky to have thick piles of newspapers at his/her deskand where the station runs newscasts from other countries. I was so disappointed to hear people calling in to express their feelings. I wanted to learn about the reasons. I wanted to "know the enemy" so I could understand him and seek peace. At night I listened to the special programming on PBS and found dear comfort online in Mr. Rogers' section.
...Surely Americans would walk instead of drive, would use less heat, would conserve energy if leaving Arab oil alone would ease the antagonism. I don't want be a superpower that boasts of its economy and military. I want peace. I want safety. I want understanding. How can I be free otherwise?
Stefanie Owen of Mobile, AL
I am 18 years old. My world has been totally shaken. For the first time in my short life, I realize how precious life is. I know that I have been taking life and freedom for granted. But no longer. It is such a valuable gift from God. I am praying for each of the families that have lost loved ones, those that are still waiting, and those that are risking their lives to help rescue others. I will never again take life for granted. God gained so many angels for his choir on Tuesday! God, bless America!
Alda M. Araujo of Newark, NJ
I want to start by telling the families, victims, police officers and firemen and EMS workers that I feel for all of you. I can't seem to focus very well. I keep tossing and turning at night and just think if I were in all of the people's shoes. I cry every morning listening to the devestating stories that people call in to the radio stations. Most of all going to work in the morning on Route 22 and looking over to NYC and not seeing the two most beautiful buildings that were ever built. It really breaks my heart. I love America, and I will pray every day of all Americans. Peace, Alda.
M. Timberlake of Phoenix, AZ
I wake up to a Christian station every morning. I wasn't sure I was hearing right, so I got up and turned on the TV. I could not believe what I was seeing. On Tuesdays I go to work at noon so I watched most of the morning until an hour before I was to go to work. I kept crying so I needed to settle myself down go to work. I even turned off my car radio because they were covering the tragedy, too. I was okay til I got to work and saw the flag at half mast and then the symbolism of it really got me. I am praying for all the people and I contributed to the United Way Crisis Response online. I didn't know how else to help.
We are having bake sales and are planting a memorial tree. Also, we are selling white roses to put under the tree. The money will go to the Red Cross to help the people in New York.
Rev. D Alger of Chesapeake, VA
I served in the military primarily to help ensure something like this -- although common in other areas of the world -- would not happen here. That America would stay strong.
I now teach at a community college, and I was very refreshed to see the responses of the various students -- they are America. As you serve in the military you can become very calloused as you see those in America who take it for granted. That won't be happening anytime soon -- anywhere in America. Most of us will find that we know someone or someone we know knows someone who died. My brother-in-law's cousin was on one of the planes that hit the WTC.
The college sponsored an hour of 'Reflection'. But most felt it inadequate -- particularly when the request to start with a prayer was flatly denied. But the community religious organizations and even the city are sponsoring Prayer and Candlelight services to remember and reflect on the moral and strength which truly is America. Look around -- everywhere there are heroes. Unfortunately, now we also know there are those among us that mean to do us harm.
Shannon of Las Vegas, NV
I had come home from work early the morning of the 11th. Got to sleep about 4 am. The next thing my husband is screaming, "A plane just flew into the World Trade Center." I thought I was dreaming. A few minutes later my husband came back in &and turned on the tv. I heard it, then jumped out of bed. It was 6:35. We then just watched as the horror of this hit us. It didn't seem real. I just kept thinking of all those people and their families.
Today 9/13, some of the victims' families came on and told of their last conversations with their loved ones. I just lost it.
We had a candlelight vigil for the lost and their families and it was nice to see all the people who came. That we have all woke up and are standing together. I just want to say I am praying for all the families that have lost, and that if anyone is alive that they are found soon. Everyone stand together put all your petty differences aside, we are all Americans. God bless the USA.
Steve Kennedy of Mount Sinai, NY
The swelling pain within seemed to lift the moment we headed off; replaced with a drive of purpose. Eerie when we got there, seeing the gap in the skyline. We put on gear, walked up and blended in with a couple thousand others passing buckets in and out. At first
we had no idea what to do, but within minutes the organization made perfect sense. No one was in charge, but everyone was doing exactly what they needed to do. You see a gap in the line, you fill it; when buckets, tools or body bags are called, you continue the call and pass it along moments later when someone down the line hands it to you. Eight hours straight, with the only break during an evacutation when a call was made that One Liberty Plaza "was coming down." Thank God it didn't and we got back to work.
Glad to be an American,
Steve Kennedy of Mount Sinai, NY
I'd like to share a grief poem that I [read] many years ago, but seems very appropriate today:
Something Inside Breaks
Something inside breaks,
Broken crystal tinkling down,
Softly, gently, rains;
or a strained spring snaps
two halves move quickly away,
the rims of a cracked canyon,
lips that will never again meet;
a river runs the deep divide,
a raven spirals down the empty air
a hoarse croak echoes forlornly
off rock cliffs.
The I, hears and knows about
some soft, sad, dramatic change,
goes on living without the
Why or the How all the same,
Gravity holds the feet to
the earth, pulls food down
the gullet, helps with elimination,
and the nocturnal heart beats,
but yearns not.
This is the sound
Of a clapperless bell
By Anthony G. Hendricks, from his collection, A Journey In The Human Dilemma, Living a Koan.
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PBS will provide nightly coverage and analysis of the terrorist attacks on the United States with "America Responds."
Check local listings.
Key PBS Resources:
Ongoing coverage and analysis.
PBS Kids Resources for Parents
Helping children cope.
Educators, find lesson plans and recommended resources.