I woke up Tuesday morning and followed my usual routine of checking my phone for messages, emails, and then facebook. I check all of these things while the kids are still in bed, while Nino is fast asleep, and the house is still and quiet. I take this time for myself to get out of bed slowly, drink my coffee and catch up with my family and friends back home through the internet and What’s App.
But as soon as I read the first status statement on my facebook feed I woke Nino up and put on CNN. My friend MB was running the Boston Marathon this year. I admired her for doing so, because I know I could never have committed myself to such a grueling race and the training that it requires. MB also decided that running this race was not just going to be for herself, but instead she would also run for a charity. College Bound Dorchester helps send kids to school that can’t afford to attend on their own. She had been raising money for months, and together with her three other team mates, they raised money for their cause. I was relieved to figure out that she was ok, that she was safe, and reunited with her husband Scott, who was diverted en route to the finish line. I was sad, because I further learned that a couple of MB’s friends weren’t so lucky, and had sustained injuries.
The events that took place in Boston while we were all fast asleep here in Manila brought back memories and feelings that quickly reminded me of September 11, 2001. That day, eleven years ago is unfortunately, still so fresh in my mind’s eye. I can see things as if they just happened, and experience with the same intensity the feelings of helplessness, of patriotism, of fear, and pride in knowing that the American spirit can and will rise above the ugliness. It was surreal then…and although years have passed, wounds may have healed, and memorials have been built, the sting of it cannot be forgotten.
On September 11th, my sister, Mary Jane, said that she had never seen New Yorkers behave the way they did when she and my Mom trekked off the island of Manhattan on foot. People were sharing cell phones to get in touch with loved ones. Carrying each other’s bags when headed in the same direction, and the load was too much to bear. Store owners gave away flip flops to women who were walking in 4 inch corporate attire. People jumped on the back of pick up trucks to ride together to safety. They took care of one another. They continued to do that for some time after the attack on the Twin Towers, because it changed New York. It changed the people. It change the energy.
On September 11th, I wanted my mom and my sister to take “flight.” I wanted them to FLEE the island of Manhattan for fear of another attack. Today as I continue to think about Boston and about that beautiful little boy, and his mom and sister fighting for their lives, instead of “flight”, I want to “fight” for them.
I suppose I FIGHT the fight by raising my kids up to be kind and responsible human beings. I teach them to care for one another. I teach them that no one is any different, that no one is any less or any more…I teach them that we are all connected. I model this behavior. I help others when I can. I give of myself not expecting anything in return. I do my best not to judge others and the stories behind them. Because we all have a story and we are all fighting a fight…
My first reaction is to take FLIGHT…but the New Yorker in me knows I have to FIGHT.
And to fight this fight…we all have to be a little more compassionate, empathetic, loving, open, accepting, and kind. Kind to one another. Kind to each other. After all, it’s what he wanted….isn’t it?
Can you fight the fight by being kind?
Minutes after the blast, Brent Cunningham was already fighting the fight. Thank you Brent Cunningham for fighting. Thank you Laura Wellington for sharing Brent’s gift. I promise to do my part, here in Manila.