Article Date: 10/1/2001

Aftermath of Tragedy
Dealing with the events that touched us all.

As I write this, it's been 3 days since we stared in disbelief and horror at the twin towers of the World Trade Center, their shining facades ripped apart, flames and smoke pouring from the topmost floors. The incredible news about the Pentagon came soon after, then word of the plane crash outside of Pittsburgh. Finally, the impossibly sad sight of both towers collapsing. I felt a part of me die right along with them.

Coming to terms with the losses

At this moment, it's hard to feel safe, or happy or optimistic about much. The comfort and complacency of the last 20 years are gone, reduced to ashes as surely and as completely as those magnificent buildings.

The damage, both physical and psychological, is real and immediate. Pat Herron, my partner in the company that publishes OM, is a native New Yorker. Pat and her family lost four people who were either family members or close friends. Two were New York City firefighters.

It's doubtful Pat will ever feel the same when she looks at the New York skyline and doesn't see those towers gleaming in the sun. Our sympathy for all those who lost friends and family this week is rooted in our empathy for the Herrons.

The thoughts and prayers of everyone at our company go out to all of you who've lost someone in this horrible series of events. We understand your pain and share your grief.

Word from Ground Zero

Another of our people, editor Erinn Morgan, lives blocks from Ground Zero. She's also experienced the nightmare firsthand. In a wrenching, heartbreaking letter sent 2 days following the disaster, Erinn wrote:

. . . All we see on our streets are armed NYPD, state troopers and military personnel as well as emergency vehicles, dump trucks carrying the rubble out of the area and ambulances. All we hear are sirens, fighter jets and church bells. Where are we? It's so brutally and suddenly unfamiliar. What has happened to our innocence, our comfort, our confidence?

Counting our blessings

It's impossible to predict what will have happened by the time you read this. We can only pray that, at the very least, most of the missing have been found, mourned and laid to rest with dignity by their loved ones; that their families have found some peace and consolation; that the country has continued to solidly stand behind our president and his advisors; that the rest of the world has rallied behind our cause; that we have found and punished the unspeakable bastards who did this to us; and that we have pursued this course without falling prey to bigotry, racism or intolerance.

In the meantime, count your blessings. Be thankful for your family, your health, your faith. Hug your kids. And resolve to deliver to them a world that values life and peace -- and that spurns violence and hatred.

Optometric Management, Issue: October 2001