Beauty in Tragedy: The Attacks of September 11


9/11 Memorial

Yesterday I met a security guard who worked at the World Trade Center during the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. He cleared the lobby of his tower before he escaped and the tower crashed down. His memories of that day haunt him; he is beset with anxiety. He remembers the bodies on the ground, the remains of the people who jumped to their deaths to escape the heat of the scorching flames. He lost his friends who worked security on the upper floors of the towers, including his best friend and his best friend’s wife who worked together.

On 9/11, the best friend’s four-year-old son became an orphan. The security guard told me how the little boy cried nonstop for days and days calling out for his mommy and daddy. I was so depressed when I heard that story. I thought of my four-year-old daughter, and my heart broke. I didn’t know how to lift my spirits after reliving 9/11 with someone who had experienced it firsthand.

I told myself that I cannot change what happened, that the past is the past. I thought about the little boy, who is now a young adult. On September 11, 2001, a kind, loving man, the security guard, took that little boy home with him and made the boy his son. The security guard and his wife opened their hearts and home to the little boy and became his mommy and daddy. While I cannot change the loss and sadness of 9/11, I can feel good when I think about good people doing good in the world. I can endure my feelings of sadness when I see that there is beauty even in tragedy.