13 years ago, on a pay phone in Southern France chatting with my mom, when a plane flew into a building in NYC, and then another. I hung up that phone with very little information, a lot of questions, and with no understanding of the magnitude of what had just happened, until later that day when word began to make its way to our group, our town, and I walked past a friend with tears in her eyes. 3,911 miles felt like worlds away. ( and even then, I’m not sure I fully understood. )
What I did learn in that moment, and the days and weeks that followed and what I will always remember and carry with me, was the power of community, specifically our global community pulling together for people they had met less then a week before, coming together for those they had never met and never would meet.
In the weeks following, I experienced hatred and love, fear and compassion, sadness and hope. But for every anti- American protest I walked into, and every sentiment or outburst demanding us to leave, there were ten acts of kindness, ten expressions of compassion.
The lives lost can not be brought back, and the experiences etched into so many who fled burning, crumbling buildings & the pain of those who mourn innocent loss can not be undone, can not be taken away.
Neither can the pulling together of strangers, the selflessness of individuals, small communities, and nations, or the pure love brought out in so many people around the world.
13 years later I still remember, I try to make sense of a senseless act. I grieve lives lost, and remember those left behind. I feel gratitude for those who did all in their power to help us feel safe, feel at home, and loved at a time when we were scared, confused and so far from home and all that was unfolding.