I am sure you all remember where you were at the precise instant when the World Trade Center was hit. It was the first time in most of our lifetimes— unless you were alive and have a recollection of the days of Pearl Harbor—where we had experienced an attack on the mainland of the United States of North America
I was the Entertainment Editor at El Diario/La Prensa in those days and remember the dismay I felt at the moment, and how I was unable to reach my office, as everything south of 14th street was closed for a few days.
I remember how I started visiting the communities in Queens and began talking to many confused New Yorkers about the situation. I had never experienced such a feeling of communal fear and frustration, as people crowded the supermarkets buying the necessities to replenish their family’s needs at a moment no one knew, exactly, what was really going on.
I wrote a note that I want to share with all of you now, which captures my mood at that historical moment in time. Surprisingly, I feel the same way today, and wonder, how was your life, personally, affected by that unique moment, eight years ago. In an effort to reconcile my feelings, and hopefully those of many of you, I share these words.
“Tuesday morning, September 11, 2001, a day that has been described as surreal by many, a day when we, as New Yorkers, as Americans,and as Earthlings, were victims of a vile attempt against anything and everything that is meaningful, a day that will mark the rest of our lives.
There is no entertainment today, only despair, only a search for a tomorrow that will never be like yesterday. For no day, from now on to the future, will ever be the same. We, as New Yorkers, as Americans, as Earthlings, all lost today. If a total disregard for human life is worth the fight for sovereignty, oil or whatever other issues the warmongers of the day feel is worth fighting for, this is the day where we wake up from the dream and live up to the reality of our times, that, sadly, is the reality of our lives.
It takes a great crisis to attain synthesis. Brothers and sisters, we are now facing the crisis of crisis, the test of our time, right in our homeland. We are facing the time of decision, as New Yorkers, as Americans, and, as Earthlings. This is the time to realize that nothing happens outside our borders anymore, that we are part of a war that has been waged for centuries. We, were just too busy being entertained to notice.
This is not the time of judgement, and the twins of Nostradamus, in the ninth month of the first year of the new millenium are not the Twin Towers, perhaps it is good and evil, and maybe, just maybe, it is time to realize the powers at play here. Once and for all, it is the time to realize if we are on the side of good, or are we siding with evil.
The way in which New Yorkers, as Americans, and Earthlings, with the exception of a few, have come together during the past few days, shows that there is hope for our planet, there is hope for our people, and that there is hope for our children. Knowing that, we know there is hope for the future, and that is the key to understanding the current developments.
To understand the future, we surely need to understand the past, and without hope, there is no future. Now is the time to remember who we are, which ultimately is what makes us what we are. That is important so we don’t become the enemy by going against the root of our principles.
“Vengeance is mine,” say the scriptures. “Time to turn the other cheek?” I don’t think so. I will never understand the magnitude of explaining to all the children that were left without parents, or to the parents that were left without children, in this disaster of disasters, how to understand such a deep spiritual concept. It is perhaps at times like this where we can only look deep, deeply into our souls and ask, “my GOD, what should I do?”
I did, and have decided that as a New Yorker, as an American, and as an Earthling, that my fellow New Yorker is my brother, that my fellow American is my brother, and that all Earthlings are my brothers as well, in fact we are one people. I have decided that happiness, friendship and goodwill, will carry me further than greed, shallowness and individuality. I have decided that like the Phoenix, we as New Yorkers, as Americans, as Earthlings, will rise from the rubble and the ashes of Ground Zero and, once again, be the best that we can be. We are to lead by example, because we are allies of good, because we reject evil, because today is the first day of the rest of our lives. We will not be denied of our freedom, our happiness and our internal peace. The future depends on this very decision at this very critical time.
It is time to gather our strengths, internal and external, as well, and move forward. We must move, not in a hurry, rather slowly, but surely, in one unified direction. It is not we against the world, it is rather New Yorkers, Americans, and all Earthlings, joined together for one last battle. Good faces evil, and we must make sure we know which side we are on, for this is a battle we can ill afford to lose.
It is our choice, for Life can be beautiful, if we want it to be”.
Almost eight years ago, I wrote this piece. Much has happened since. We went to war, a conflict that has left our economy in shambles, we learned to count in zillions of dollars as we tried to understand the extent of our national deficit, we have lost thousands of young lives in a war nobody can make logic of, we also lost hundreds of NY’s best, and NY’s finest, on the line of duty and in the prime of their lives. To this date we still hear stories of firemen and police officers who are dying as a consequence of asbestos, and smoke related illness, that developed due to their participation in the aftermath of 9-11.
On the other hand, the country, obviously frustrated by the old school politics, made a dramatic change in our internal politics with the election of President Obama. The President is clearly trying to steer the country into a much needed different path, looking for reform in many areas including health services. This, albeit facing strong opposition from those who still don’t realize the need for positive change in this country. This reaction, which I associate with a societal fear of change, in spite of everything that has happened over the last few decades, is something that will never cease to amaze me about this country. While all call for the need for change, very few are willing to take the responsibility and grab the bull by the horns. Most, however, are always readily available to protest and criticize.
As politicians like Sarah Palin have become “the voice of reason” within certain sectors in our society, I clearly begin to understand why, although I cannot help to also ask myself, why? Is there a
cruel joke by the creator at interplay here somewhere? Or is it true that mankind never learns?
We must remain sharp and remember our history, we must also remember that there is a dramatic need for change in the external and internal policies of this country.
We hear so much talk about the need to save the planet, the situation we face is much important than that. We surely need to save humanity, if we continue on the path towards destruction, we will achieve the purpose of blatantly destroying mankind without fail. Without us, on the other hand, the planet will return to a full fledged Paradise in a million years or so. So its not to save the planet, we must save humanity, subsequently, the planet will be saved as well.
But most importantly, we can’t forget that change must start from within, we must look at the man in the mirror, every morning, and ask him how are things, and, most important, what needs to be changed today? What can I do to effect positive change today?
If you can’t think of anything, then, simply, think again. Meanwhile, I remain, hoping for the best.
Story by Juan Moreno-Velazquez