Ten Days of Remembrance

September 13, 2016

I am from the State of Minnesota. Twenty-seven years ago a boy named Jacob Wetterling was kidnapped. His parents (shown above) worked tirelessly to find Jacob, to assist others suffering like them, and to work with the government to help other families and prevent kidnappings.  At the beginning of the past 10 days, the body of their son, Jacob, was discovered.

Jacob! Jacob became a part of the Minnesota psyche. This beautiful boy was a part of our family too. We left our lights on every October on the date he was kidnapped and we did it all of this Labor Day Weekend to light the way for his spirit to return home. We felt the pain along with his parents, not the depth of their pain, but sorrow nonetheless.

Does even one parent exist who isn’t concerned about the safety of their child?  My poor daughter was tormented by my over-protectiveness. She was my heart. And FEAR was a friend of mine when I was younger.

FEAR is not the answer. Sometimes we are powerless, maybe most of the time. All we can do is raise our children well, encourage them to trust their instinctual feelings, their gut. And we can pray that they never meet a person like the one Jacob and countless others have had the terrible misfortune to meet.  And when they are afraid in the night, we may tell them that we have checked under their bed and they are safe tonight. But when they ask us if there are real monsters in the world, should we say yes or no?

I am afraid, Ho paura. Those words have been a part of my life since childhood. I have been able to face those fears and tune into my gut feelings more and more. But it is a challenge I face each day. I found this quote a while ago and just copied the photo below. I try to live by these words of Teddy Roosevelt.

After the terror of 9/11/2001, we all need to live by this quote. It has been 15 years since that horrifying day. Throughout the last weekend so many memorials have been shown on television. It was the first time in 15 years that I have watched any of them. The pain was too deep. The innocence of the United States of America was lost by the incredible destruction and by the powerlessness we all experienced. How could anyone even conceive of such an evil plan and execute it so brilliantly? What’s next? What’s next?Chi sa? Who knows?

Condolences came from nearly every country in the world, even Iran. But Sorrow, Helplessness, Rage and Fear took over the hearts and minds of America. Rage and Fear won out.  It is understandable. The horror of 9/11 was too much.

After the first plane hit, and people chose to jump from the towers, we just could not cope. It was too late for logical thought.

When we watched helplessly as an airplane deliberately veered into the second tower, we were dumbstruck, gobsmacked, stunned. People jumped from the buildings because they thought dying that way was better than going up in flames. I have a memory burned into my soul of 2 people, a man and a woman, holding hands as they jumped. I have never been able to forget that scene.

First the south tower and then the north tower collapsed. They were filled with people, workers, firefighters. I remember crying out NOOOO as the first one collapsed. I did that again on Sunday as I watched it fall. I was there in the moment 15 years ago. It was an autonomic response.

When the north tower fell, I sobbed like a baby. I cried again this time too. However, this time the tears were for everyone in that tower, all of their families and all the other victims and families of terror attacks.  I cried for our naïve belief that we could fight two wars to stop this terrorism and we are still fighting 15 years later. I cried because it brought back the FEAR I felt that day and the pain I had suppressed when I had heard of Paris, Orlando and all the other attacks across the world.  I wept for the world and all the people suffering.

How do we go on in a world so changed? Do we cower in our homes, afraid to venture out? Do we remain in our neighborhood where we have a false sense of safety? Do we strike out at others who might be different from us because we feel secure with the known quantity?

Or do we do what the French did and refuse to allow terrorist to limit our lives? Do we do what those remarkable firefighters of New York did for days on end, digging, working, never giving up hope no matter how difficult and depressed they felt? When they raised the American flag over the rubble that was once two, 120 story buildings, I felt a glimmer of hope. When I see that photo I feel stronger today too. FEAR is no longer my friend.

There is another quote I have carried in my wallet for perhaps a quarter century. It is from the book, DUNE, by Frank Herbert. I would love to share it with you before I go back to packing and donating my belongings in preparation for my move to Italy. I hope it gives you strength so that you too can choose LOVE over fear.

I must not fear.

Fear is the Mind-Killer.

Fear is the little death that brings total obliteration.

I will face my fear.

I will permit it to pass over me and through me.

And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.

Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.

Only I will remain.

Ciao for now!

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