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12:42 p.m. - 2001-09-11


Dear Uncle Bob:

As a member of the Army, I thought that I would let you know what's happening here. I woke up here in Western NY this morning to find that my entire world has shifted and changed. In reality, it's a gorgeous day here in NY: The sky is blue, the sun is shining, and big fluffy white powder-puff clouds are in the sky. Here and there, if you look hard enough, you can see the true wonder of nature in the most classic harbingers of the fall season: slowly coloring leaves dotting the treetops.

And yet, the world has changed. In comparison with the reality of current events, the sunshine seems almost foreign and slightly sinister. We are all on a state of alert here -- area airports, Federal buildings, courts, City and County offices, corporations, schools, and colleges have all closed until further notice. Police and Sheriff cars cruise though even my quiet suburban neighborhood with alarming regularity. Worse yet, I sit here, like so many others in our state, unable to communicate with my many loved ones in the city, worried for their very existence.

We have been told that our National Guard has been called out, several of whom are my students at the community college where I teach. They are so young, barely 18, and yet now they head off in to a veritable war zone of destruction. The term "acts of war" is being bandied about now, and every time I hear it my stomach flops over in horror. I talked to an older woman whose son is my friend; she was in tears because already my friend talks of enlisting, in fighting whoever or whatever evil has done this. She is in tears because she could lose her son, and because he does not seem to understand that the concept of "an eye for an eye" is quite possibly what brought us here in the first place.

I am so very sad today for all of us, that words and gestures have culminated into this horrific act, the loss of hundreds and thousands of lives. The devastation is unspeakable, unthinkable. I cannot even imagine a hatred so deep that I would be willing to sacrifice so many innocents to avenge myself. For that lack of ability to imagine, I am grateful.

I pray for all of us today. I pray that we can find it in us to love each other, and try to heal somehow after this. I plan to try to help out in any way I can. I will be contacting the Red Cross later this afternoon to donate some spare blankets and things I have lying around the house. I also plan to donate blood tonight, as it is going to be sorely needed. The casualty rate from the NY attacks alone is staggering; wounded are said to be arriving at area hospitals here later in the day and I want to do something physical to help in any way I can. You might mention to your readers that if they feel the urge to help somehow in addition to prayer and love, blood will be desperately needed. Giving at the next available blood drive would be a tremendous help to an already over-taxed system.

I pray for peace today, as I know you do. PLEASE, keep reminding your readers that love and tolerance and compassion for others is the only way we can make it through these crisises.

Many tears of sadness and hopes for the future,



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