I made my first and so far only trip to Europe six months after terrorists had shaken America to our core by attacking what ended up being three locations. Thankfully, and due to great heroics, the fourth plane never reached it’s target.
Clearly, the world had shifted and now, six months out I was about to make my first transcontinental flight. There were armed military forces guarding the airport and it wasn’t lost on anyone exactly how much time had passed. Six months, half of a year ago the Twin Towers in NYC had fallen, THE Pentagon still hadn’t finished their repairs and it made my stomach turn. I soon found out how much the world hurt with us.
I spent my thirty days in Europe mostly explaining I was no where near NYC. I live in the middle of my country. Everyone I met in every country was legitimately concerned. They were all afraid. If the U.S. could be attacked then no one was immune.
“Could you see the planes/towers/smoke/debris?” I told them no. The next question never was “Were you afraid?” because I can only assume by their fear they already knew the answer. The next question was always “How do you cope?” To be honest I didn’t know what to say really. I knew that The President and the government would do their jobs but that’s not what they meant and I, along with my country were still braced for more. If control and safety are an illusion, the magic was broken and the hardest realization of nothing being within our control or that it only takes a moment to flip everything you thought you knew on its head; Well I gave the only answer I could, “I trust it will be handled, I know things will never be the same, and I keep going because overall, it’s the only thing you can do.”
I had such a wonderful time in Paris. The city almost feels magical. More than a city for lovers. The artists, poets, chefs, and musicians fill every breath you take with creativity. It’s palpable. The fact that you’re walking paths so many amazing people have walked before. I very much hate that this happened to such an almost sacred place. A place much like NYC. A place with a heart beat and perhaps even a soul.
It’s not exactly an old notion or the first time anyone has said this but, when are we going to stop this? I want peace. I know too many people need to heal.
Our hearts are with you Paris. I know you will heal albeit not without some scaring. I pray for peace and stability in the world. I pray for Paris, just as those I met years ago prayed for America.