Things came to an abrupt stop on September 11, 2001. The news was difficult to fathom. The accounts were too incredible. The images conjured up from the radio account of what was happening were in fact accurate. The remaining events of the day were grist for proving one's mettle and abilities. Priorities needed to be reordered while progress on what was scheduled to occur was maintained as best as possible.
Still, one shock after another kept unfolding.
The news kept unfolding. The Pentagon was hit. Cognizance of the fact that there were people populating these buildings, going about their usual routines for opening a business were present in at least my mind. Innocent people who had absolutely nothing to do with the warfare going on in some remote part of the world far, far away from the United States. Then a report was given that a plane that supposedly was headed for the White House was diverted to a field in Pennsylvania.
Priorities kept being reordered. On the news that there was no transportation to Los Angeles' downtown area, it was time to simply stop and do the alternative activities. I returned to my SOHO and wrote When All Are Losing Their Heads. There was nothing else to do in order to dispell the acidic events. Then diffuse the situations by writing about them. And focus on what's needed in order to be a leader in times of distress, disorder, mayhem, and disaster.
The next shock was the fact that there was an aborted attempt at destroying the White House, one of the symbols of America and its freedoms. My projects were waiting for me and my responsibilities were making their demands. For me, it was a matter of sublimating the news in deference to getting things accomplished.
It must be that all of us became numb that day. I think all of us simply put ourselves on a mental autopilot so that functioning and accomplishing and progress toward Tomorrow could happen. A year later, an editor solicited responses from her readers as to whether they would be doing anything to recognize the events of a year earlier. Many responded in similar fashion. They were all in business either for their own selves or for a company. There was no time to physically stop. But there were moments when waiting for a conveyance or other precipitating event forced the waters of time and cognition to part and allow the stirrings of the mind to capture the feelings, to give them a higher position. But essentiall, everything was all in the course of a day.
It's significant to note that these emotions we Americans felt were the same as those who live in battle zones around the world. The shock, the numbness, the coping as best as one can have become routine patterns. You have to ask yourself how people can possibly live in that type of atmosphere, in that type of constant agitation, and keep their stability. A woman who lives in one of those areas was interviewed on an old Oprah show. She said drugs, especially Valium, are sold at pharmacies throughout her city as though they are aspirin. The drugs help to dull the senses and bear the toll that the bombings and straffing take on one's soul, mind, and body. The drugs help keep the psyche glued together.
It's been eleven years since the attack. We have healed. The World Trade Center is rebuilt.
The Pentagon has been restored and stands majestically on its original base.
The September 11 Memorial is a wonderful symbol of the past and pool of our coming together. It looks more like a peace pond than a monument. Let us look forward to that type of reality for our mental state and our global future.
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