September 11, 2011

Reflections, 10 Years After Sept. 11, 2001

Ten years ago today an eleven year old girl was sitting in her first period 6th grade "wheel" elective class. The day had started off as boring as any other when a teacher from next door came in to talk to her teacher. Their hands were up to their mouths, their eyes worried and shocked. Slowly, almost in a dream-like manner, the girl's teacher walked up to the front of the room, reaching up to the television, and turning the dial. 
In an automatic response, the class looked up at the television. The girl thought there was a movie playing. It wasn't very good. When the news castors started talking, she knew it must be real. Still, so what? Some accident happened. The girl was too young to connect the dots so quickly on her own. Later a lot of her classmates were being picked up early by their parents but she knew she wouldn't be one of them, her dad worked at the school.
Later when I got home that day and listened to what my mom and the news people had to say, I started to grasp the gravity of the attacks. Growing up in what I considered an ideal world that had obtained world peace after so much history of war, I was shocked. What broke my heart the most was the thought of all the families that were suddenly torn apart and losing "world peace."

Thankfully, my family did not lose a loved one during 9/11. Still, I have not been able to listen to a story of loss about the tragedy without chocking up. I feel only a small fraction of their pain but it is enough to move me to tears. I have seen many others moved the same way.

During that time my family and I were not even American citizens. We had been in this country for only six years. Although I remember feeling this country was my home, I can finally understand what it must have been like for my parents and sister. Having fairly recently moved to this new country and still struggling to get by within it, the fear must have been great. They had moved with the dream that they would be free of troubles and worries in the "land where the streets are paved in gold." To have that dream turn into a threat of national turmoil must have had them wishing they were back "home" where they were safe.

But the truth is, no one can truly be safe anywhere in the world. Everyday we put our lives in the hands of others without thinking about it. When driving, you trust others not to hit you, accidentally or purposefully. When eating out or buying groceries, you trust the food to be safe.

We are all connected and trusting each other constantly. On 9/11 a great deal of trust was broken, as has happened in all wars. It is not the absence of war that creates world peace; world peace will be achieved when people learn to trust. Trust yourselves, trust one another, trust the nations you love, trust the nations you fear, trust the world. To create trust, people must first learn to love. 

If everyone in the world can manage this, the world will truly know peace. This is my wish for Earth, who has shown nothing but the love of a mother to her children.

Repainting (watercolor) of a colored drawing done five years ago titled "Gaia's Sorrow." (Note: the painting was originally created as a visual representation of the damaging effects of pollution and the earth's struggle with it. I felt it could be applied to the effects of war. Please do not try to analyze it or put words into it out of context without permission from myself, the artist.)

"When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace." Jimi Hendrix


Marissa said...

Rachel, I didn't know that you are such a talented artist! Your painting is beautiful. I think it's crazy that it has been 10 years since 9/11. It seems like it wasn't all that long ago. Great post!

Rachel said...

Thanks a lot girl!

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