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Sep 11, 2011

09/11: One Survivors Story _ 10 Years Later

Posted by Wendy Ewurum  |  at  12:09 AM

Friends I don't normally post on Sunday but this is a
Sunday with a difference. Many of us who do not live under
rocks remember the tragedy that struck America 10 years to the day.
Today I host Artie V Why, author of that day in September who was an
eye witness to the event. This is his account, as we remember those who were lost. 

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10 years ago today I stood in front of the World Trade Center and watched the horrors of that morning as they unfolded.  My life changed forever that day; as did the country’s belief that we were safe from harm.

If 9/11 hadn’t happened I probably would never have moved to Lancaster and wouldn’t be standing here in front of you.  I now know, personally, how just one moment in time can alter, forever, the path of a person’s life.  I don’t know if those moments are fate or just happenstance. I question if life is just composed of random occurrences with no rhyme or reason.  Or is God involved in those life changing moments?  I cringe in anger at the suggestion of some that even 9/11 was part of “God’s plan” and that all things work towards the good.  There is nothing “good” about what I witnessed that morning.  And the only “plan” I saw acted out was the plan of madmen.  At times I wonder just where God was that morning.  On my good days I know God was present in the hands of everyone who reached out to help someone else. That He was in the arms of people on the streets as they embraced one another and in the tears of strangers who cried together. He was in all the lives that were given in the line of duty, in the acts of heroism. He was in the hearts of the people across the country who, as they watched the horror from afar, felt compassion.  On my bad days I am angry that, because of the laws of the universe that God has set up, He was and is powerless to stop mankind from acting out the evil we are capable of.  I have been stripped of my unquestioning faith; replacing it with questions I don’t have the answers for.

The one thing of worth that I have been able to salvage from the trauma of that day is a renewed appreciation for my family.  They have become my most important priority; which is a direct result of having lived through 9/11.  It is because of my parents having retired here that I moved to Lancaster.

Even though I’ve had the love and support of my family; these past 8 years here have been, for me, an incessant cycle of mourning.  I became accustomed to the inner sadness that was with me every day; as I went through the motions of living my life.  Without being aware of it, I had retreated into a self-imposed isolation; caught up in an unending grief.  I grieved for the lives lost that day, most certainly.  But I also grieved the life that I lost that day; the life that I had known up till that fateful morning.  The person I was on September 10, 2001 no longer exists and I have struggled to discover who it is I am now.

But after darkness (for however long it might last) there is light.  I am experiencing that now in my life; these ten years later.

Since the beginning of this year some significant things have happened that have been drawing me out of the bleakness I once found comfort in.  I don’t know whether to attribute these things to fate, or circumstance or God.  Perhaps there’s no need for me to know.  In January I found, after years of searching, a whole network of 9/11 survivors that I have connected with.  I have found comfort in having people I can write or talk to that I know understand fully what I’m saying or feeling.  I realize I am not alone.  There are so many of us; the people who just happened to be there that morning, for whatever the reasons.

I was fortunate to have found a therapist here in Lancaster who works with people who have experienced trauma; who, like me, suffer from post traumatic stress disorder.  After all those many hours spent with her we have begun to see the fruit of our labor.  In April I returned to New York City for the first time since moving here.  Up until then I just couldn’t bring myself to go.  Not even to visit old friends.  But on Good Friday my parents, sister and I took the train into New York and I went back to the place I had feared once again facing; Ground Zero.  It was emotional, as I expected it would be, but it was also cathartic.  I still regard the spot where the World Trade Center once stood as sacred ground; the burial site of many.  I felt I was at their collective gravesites; paying my respects to those who had died.

And since that decisive return to the place where my life was forever changed, the healing has continued; in some of the most unexpected ways.  Recently I was given the gift of meeting someone who has brought light, love and laughter back into my life.  It’s as if he stood at the mouth of the cave of darkness I had inhabited all these years and held out his hand and said “come join me in living.”  And with him I am reentering life.  I didn’t know that I had forgotten what it was like to be happy.

I have let the traumatic experience of 9/11 define who I am.  I got lost in the pain, sadness and memories of that day.  I wondered, at times, if the hurt would ever go away.  But eventually all wounds begin to heal; even a wounded spirit.  There is no timeframe as to when healing begins.  For each of us it takes as long as it takes.  For me, it has taken ten years.  And it has only started.  Perhaps it will take the rest of my life to heal.  I still think of 9/11 every day and probably always will.  It is an indelible part of who I am now.  But it’s not all of me.  What I witnessed, what I lived through and what I survived is, and always will be, a part of my past.  But I can’t let it keep me from experiencing the present or stop me from hoping for a fulfilling future.  I will never forget 9/11; nor would I want to.  In the midst of that tragic day I witnessed the goodness that mankind is capable of as we truly came together; as a city, as a nation and as one united people globally.  There was the greatness in the acts of courage shown from the people in the streets as they helped one another.  There were the heroic sacrifices of lives given by those dedicated to saving others.  There was the unlimited kindness of people expressed in the days and weeks that followed.  Amongst the unforgettably painful images and memories of that day in September are the many moments of bravery, compassion and generosity to also remember.  . . . to never forget.

I am humbled by the fact that 9/11 is now a history lesson for today’s children.  We owe it to them and those that follow to tell our stories of that day.  We all have a story of 9/11; no matter where we were.  We were all affected.  We were all changed; as was our country and even the world.  By telling our stories we can assure that today’s children, and the children to come, will never forget.  It is by that remembering that we will continue to honor those who died.
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Thank you so much Artie for coming by to share such an emotional and personal experience with us. But especially for helping us keep in rememberance those who lost their lives and their loved ones on that day.

About the Author

Most know me as the author to Fabulosity Reads and in actual fact, that is the previous name of this blog. I have since then moved my books to a Wordpress self-hosted blog so that I can have a place to show a different side of me which I am equally passionate about and that is marketing and personal development. I hope you will love being here, watching me grow as I share and learn. My highest hope is that we will grown and learn together in all disciplines affecting our lives. I'd LUUURRRVE to hear from you, so don't be shy...

2 comments:

  1. I still don't understand how people could wreak so much havoc on people who had done nothing to them. I don't think I will ever understand.

    Time does help heal our wounds and it is good to express our thoughts and feelings as a part of that process.

    Thanks for sharing your experience.

    God bless.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you for this post. Great site. I think that this book will be on my list of books to read.

    ReplyDelete

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