Motivational and Inspirational Stories
Back To Normal
Author: D Anthony, D-Rose Impressions, 10/01, (Revised 06/02)
have to get back to normal. That was the popular sentiment.
From the President to countless dignitaries, self proclaimed
grief and terrorism 'experts' and so many television reporters
- everyone concurred the most effective way to respond
to the horrific events of September 11, 2001 was to simply
get back to normal.
On 9-11, America
suffered a tragedy of few, if any, parallels. In a well
organized plot, hijackers of four commercial planes managed
to effectively transform them into fuel filled, flying
weapons of mass destruction. The aftermath - two one hundred
and ten story World Trade Center towers demolished, massive
damage to the Pentagon, the fourth plane crashed in an
open field, approximately three thousand suspected deaths,
layoffs in numerous industries, declarations of war, a
shaken economy, a shaken America.
The days after
the tragedy saw astonishment give way to sorrow and anger...
then national pride... then a sense of determination.
And that steadfast determination could be heard just about
over the airwaves... from co-workers...
from neighbors next door... "We can't let this act
change our lives
we have to get back to normal".
We have to get back to normal
I still remember
that Tuesday like it was yesterday. What I remember is
that as the tragic events of the day unfolded
between disbelief and grief something else happened.
Our priorities changed. Work became significantly less
important. People called family and friends to check on
them - to let them know they were loved. People went home
and talked to their kids. People hugged (I mean really
hugged) their loved ones. People canceled unnecessary
business trips. Families spent more time at home together.
Church pews were occupied. Firefighters and policemen
(and women) were recognized - hailed as heroes. We
slowed down and focused on the truly important. We
argued less and thought about people more. It seems we
discovered just a taste of the way things used to be -
what our grandparents, and even more their grandparents,
meant by 'normal'.
just maybe life's trials and tribulations are supposed
to have purpose. What if these events exist for the
purpose of presenting us with the opportunity of choice.
to these events we can choose to grow - or not. We can
choose to search for meaning
to gain a little more
perspective - or not. We can choose to recognize the blessings
and people in our lives - or not. We can choose to appreciate
each and every day - or not. We can choose to slow down
to spend more time on the truly important things in life
- or not. We can choose to make a difference in the world
- or not. We can choose to work less and play more - or
not. We can choose to strengthen our faith and our compassion. While choosing not to forget, we can choose to funnel
later, and it seems the shift back is just about complete.
The truth is most times our memories are of the short-term
variety. When we experience pain, we hurt for a while,
endeavor to get past it - then return to normal. Usually
we forfeit our opportunity to grow.
story from September 11th is that of a young lady in her
early thirties, working in the World Trade Center that
fateful morning. Upon feeling the impact of the plane,
she left her desk intending to vacate the building.
her descent down the stairwell along with others, an announcement
came over the intercom. The damaged area had been secured
and everyone could return to their offices. Ignoring the
announcement, and others changing their direction - she
listened only to the inner feeling telling her to get
out. At about the fourth floor she felt rumbling.
(What she felt was what we could only watch in horror
on live television.) The building collapsed around her
- and all she could do was ride the falling mass to the
in complete and eerie silence was where she found herself.
Buried in the debris that was, only seconds ago, the world-renowned
one hundred and ten-story World Trade Center Building
With a heavy
object preventing movement of her lower body and no light
or sound to speak of - she could only yell for help. Those
calls went unheeded. By the next afternoon she was beginning
to lose hope that she would ever make it out alive. She
prayed, asking God for a sign. She asked for anything
that could offer her hope
anything that would give
her the will to go on.
A short while
later the sound of tapping cut through the darkness. She
someone responded. She managed to
wiggle her hand through the debris above and a firefighter
grabbed it. She was the last person to be rescued
from the catastrophic scene.
still somewhat physically and emotionally shaken young
woman tell her story from her hospital bed a couple months
later, a tear made its way from my eye. And as the young
lady thanked God for blessing her through a mixture of
smiles and tears, I found myself wondering
to what degree her life had changed. I wondered whether
she was concerned about getting back to normal. I wondered
whether normal had taken on a whole new meaning in her
In the weeks
following the tragedy, it seemed that our collective anxiety
and shaken sense of security caused us to pause and re-evaluate
our daily activities. Our pace slowed
loved ones knew they were loved
were found in our midst
the simple things in life
(concepts like family, compassion, trust, safety, sacrifice,
time and love) became a little more important. Our priorities
were in order. Home, once again, became the place where
our hearts were.
however, time doesn't compliment a short attention span.
Thus since the weeks following the tragedy we've steadily
regressed to our September 10th perspectives. Importance
has again been superceded by urgency... home has again
been superceded by work... reflection has again been superceded
by trivial pursuits. We no longer speak to strangers on
the street... we no longer hug (I mean really hug) loved
ones. Our heroes, once again, can be found in stadiums
and arenas. Time has become, once again, something we
find on a watch.
most other voices have quieted, I continue to call for
us to get back to normal. But it's not the normal of today,
or of September 10th, for which we should be striving
- it's the normal our great-great-grandparents knew...
the normal we were collectively well on our way to knowing
in the latter part of September 2001.
that's the way I want to live my life... and that's
the kind of world I want to live in. What about you?
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thoughts on 'Back To Normal'
Absolutely right. It touched me tremendously and really put things in perspective.
I too have been touched since the tragedy and it is a
daily effort to not let all of the "stuff" of life get
in the way. Thank you for putting thoughts to paper.
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