In The Midst Of The Horror...
Something wonderful happened.
I found out that I'm not as cynical and pessimistic as I had thought. Here's why:
The passengers who chose to attack their hijackers, likely saving thousands of lives.
The policemen who haven't slept in two days.
The firefighters who pleaded from their hospital beds to be allowed to go back to the scene to help.
The endless line of people in New York volunteering to do something. Anything.
The people around the world donating money and blood, even from countries in desperate need.
The health care personnel who walked to the scene unasked, to help.
The emergency service workers who rushed back to the scene despite the danger of buildings around them in danger of collapse.
The non-Muslims who refused to give in to bigotry and racism.
The websites that started donation drives that are collecting millions, a dollar at a time.
The Red Cross, never more deserving, never more tested.
The journalists who occasionally worked through tears to keep us informed.
The grief counselors who took the savagely difficult task of being with the loved ones of the victims when it was most needed.
The massive support of the governments of the world. If there was a sign of hope for the future, this is it.
Those common people in virtually every country in the world, who left flowers and prayed and lit candles and sent letters to the US in memory of people they'd never known.
The huge group of people cheering for not only the policemen, firefighters and EMTs at the scene, but for the Con Ed workers and those who handled the debris.
The politicians who suddenly rose above our expectations to do the right thing tirelessly and selflessly.
Those people who opened their homes to the stranded.
The National Guard, who know that they'll be called when things are at their worst.
The men and women in the towers and the Pentagon who aided those around them who had fallen, to get them to safety, at great personal risk.
The NATO leaders, who said we do not stand alone.
Voices in every language saying, "I'll give blood. I'll give money. I'll give support. I'll give food. I'll give a place to stay. I'll give my time. I'll give. I'll give. I'll give."
There can never be a full accounting, from quiet heroism that will never make the news, to those who sacrificed their lives after forty years of public service. I find myself with a new understanding of what it means to be an American, and what standards that means I should live up to. I find myself proud, not ashamed, to be a citizen of the world.
The list of victims is long. The list of those who want to help in any way they can has more than a billion names on it.
The people who committed this atrocity thought that they were striking at the heart of America.