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I am...a New Yorker
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[Previous entry: "Getting It"]

Wednesday, September 11, 2002
Thankful, Thoughtful
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Photographing...
As you can clearly see.

Eating...
Some funky fish salads/schmears.

Feeling...
A little green around the gills.

Wearing...
Black embroidered duster vest with crepe pants.

Ahhhing...
A bit of privacy.

Watching...
Remembrances.

Thinking...
How thankful I am for this most recent, difficult, year. It was ultimately one of renewal for me and for my city.

Praying...
For peace, wisdom and hope for us all.

I am...not sure what to make of this anniversary and all the hoopla. I am sure it will be a national holiday some day. But today? It's just enough to get through it.

Empire State Building lit red, white and blue
The Empire State Building will be black tonight, after being lit red, white and blue for most of the last year. The normal lighting schedule resumes on September 12. New York's period of mourning comes to a close.

I've grown to accept, I think, the worst potential outcomes. I work near Grand Central station, the UN and not far from the Empire State Building. The building I work in also houses other well-known non-profits as well as consulates and Big Politico's office.

Lower Manhattan
Lower Manhattan Tuesday night. I wish my digital camera was better at capturing photos at night, so I could share the splendor of this place with all who ask me what it's like.

If it all comes crashing down tomorrow, or the next, or the day after that -- I've had a rich life, full of lessons, miracles and unique experiences. If it doesn't, then I will continue to learn and grow -- as much as I can.

. . .

Tomorrow we're having an early observance at work, to coincide with the city's program. Afterward, some of us volunteered to take food and flowers to the neighborhood fire house. We'll serve them lunch and spend some time with them. Apparently, no other company in the area thought to do anything for them.

Last year, I felt so helpless and immobile during those first days and weeks. I do so regret that. This is not much, but I am glad to do something to thank these New Yorkers who work very hard to keep us all safe, even through their tremendous loss last September.

After work, I plan to go to a ceremony at a nearby mosque with a coworker who converted to Islam last year. I think it is important at this time to remember that all of the major religions treasure life. Those men that day no more represent Islam, than judgemental, Christian religious extremists represent the love and light of Christ.

It was more important, they thought, for them to prove their point, than for thousands of people to live, for children to have mothers and fathers, for parents to outlive their sons and daughters. I know how madmen prey upon the dissatisfaction of angry youth. They demonized Americans, much as Americans demonized the Japanese in World War II. Their hearts and minds were systematically polluted long before such severe action is taken.

It's devestating to imagine all those people, just trying to get through the work day. They were neither the cause, nor the direct beneficiaries of the decades of U.S. foreign policy that precipitated the attacks. There must be a distinction made between the U.S. government and the American people. Granted, Americans are notoriously lazy about keeping up with foreign and even domestic politics. I've been fortunate enough to meet so many people from all over this country and the world and I know, like Anne Frank, that most people are basically good.

We in New York are blessed to be part of a rich tapestry of humanity. As one person told me last October, New York, more than anywhere else, has it's stuff together to welcome and accomodate everyone. It sounds corny, to be sure, but once you get to know someone as an individual, prejudices related to group identity fade.

That is the only way we can connect and fulfill our greater, shared destiny.

My apologies for the incoherence, it was after 2 am and I kept falling asleep.

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