Lessons from a Recovering Doormat

When I heard the announcement that US troops finally got Osama bin Laden, my head began to sing, “ding dong, the witch is dead,” remembering the jubilation when the witch was taken out in The Wizard of Oz. Yet I’m conflicted. I’m someone who tells bugs to please go so I don’t have to hurt them. I don’t normally wish anyone dead or rejoice when someone dies, but I can’t help myself.

I’m from NYC. I was here during 9/11. I’ll never forget going into my kitchen to make breakfast, flipping on the radio to catch a weather forecast, and hearing people screaming that an airplane had gone into the World Trade Center. I rushed to my TV in time to see the second plane hit. God blessed me that day. My friend Bruce had crashed on my couch the night before. It was the only time he’d done that but we had torrential downpours the night before so he stayed. He’s a good friend and very calm. He kept me sane when the Pentagon got hit and then the plane that went down in PA. the death toll was worse than at Pearl Harbor.

I was hysterical, terrified for all the people in harm’s way. They closed off Manhattan—no subway service and the bridges were closed. I felt trapped, then relieved when all airplanes were grounded for a while. My apartment faces south and I cringed seeing the smoke rising–ugly orange/brown smoke. I went out to try to donate blood and a guy on the line commented that the smoke we saw was a combo of burnt office furniture and people. My friends had to hold me back from slamming him and his glib remarks and just kept repeating “Rest in peace.” I kept my windows shut tight for 2 months as the smell wasn’t good and dust from ground zero was in the air.

Out of the bad some good came. People became kinder to each other. We had a camaraderie in the city that I’d never experienced. New Yorkers came together. The night after, I walked to the corner and there was no traffic but the light was red. Normally I’d have just crossed but a cop was there so I waited, since technically it’s illegal here to cross against the light. He saw me and waved me to just cross. I never thought I’d see that happen here! But everyone practiced kindness. We were a all wounded, whether we’d been in the building or just living here. Our city was attacked!

For many days, fighter jets and helicopters created a fairly constant din outside my windows. It made me jumpy, especially at bedtime. Two nights later, we had a thunderstorm during the night. A burst of thunder woke me up and I jumped. My first thought was that we were being bombed. My heart raced as I turned on the radio to see what was going on. Then I saw lightening and realized I was safe. Almost 10 years later I still jump from loud noises outside and get nervous when I hear planes flying low.

I could say I was lucky that I didn’t know anyone who lost a life that day. But that’s not how I feel. I lost many brothers and sisters of my city—people whose lives were lost so senselessly. So I am happy Osama bin Laden is gone in a sad way. The mastermind behind the vicious attacks on my city has been killed. He is no longer around to motivate the terrorists. His evil presence is over! I know that doesn’t mean the war is over in general. But to me, a personal war is. I never have to see his evil face on the news spouting hate and pushing terrorists to kill. It will help the morale of our troops. I feel relief. He is a symbol of terrorism.

And almost 10 years after he orchestrated the attack on my city, the US got him! May everyone killed on 9/11 rest in more peace!

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