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Week of September 17, 2001

Incomprehensible - The Best Revenge: A World Without Hate - Manhattan Memories
The New York Tragedy

It has really taken me a while to process what I feel about this whole thing. I have to admit that much of the week, I've found it almost incomprehensible - the disbelief of the magnitude of hatred involved, and almost total denial at the thought of the numbers of the dead.

I still haven't heard from everyone I know in New York City yet. I'm still praying that I will. I'm still praying that millions of others will too. I know that reality probably isn't going to allow for a lot of these prayers to be answered, but I do keep hoping.

Part of me wants blood for this. Now. But it's not mine to take. Ironically, the only blood I can spill is my own, at the blood bank, into a refrigerated bag, with the hope that it will help someone who needs it.

But still, I resent it. Resent the fact that every airplane that comes in for a landing at the airport near my home now puts me on guard. Resent the fact that my niece, now two years old, will never see a history book that doesn't include the destruction of the World Trade Center. I resent the pain that has been inflicted upon so many people who did nothing more than show up for work one morning in lower Manhattan.

And I resent that whoever did this is going to bring about something which is likely to plunge the entire world into a war that could potentially destroy us all.

God, but a lot of people are going to die. This is just the tip of the iceberg.

I opened the floor to submissions from the rest of's staff because, honestly, I'm zonked. I work in TV news, so I have been seeing those planes crash into those buildings, and seeing those buildings crumble to dust, over and over again.

But never quite enough to become inured to the pain and suffering that those images barely hint at.

I don't think I'll ever be able to see them and not feel rage, sadness, and a little bit of pride that at least one of those planes didn't reach their intended targets because the people inside fought back with their last ounce of strength, their last breath. And pride at the selfless relief, recovery and rescue efforts going on in New York City.

In one grim moment of history, we're witnessing the worst that humanity has to offer - and the best, because we're not content to let the worst stand as a testament to what the human race is capable of.

But it's also a reminder that the best - and the worst - are still to come.

I now hand this over to people who may be thinking more clearly than I am, and have hopefully gotten more sleep than I have.

Earl Green webmaster

The Best Revenge: A World Without Hate
On September 11, we learned the depths of cruelty and violence that human beings can inflict upon each other. There is a hole in all our hearts right now, and for those that lost loved ones because of these senseless acts, it is a hole that will never truly heal. It's easy to understand the rage that fills us, threatens to consume us. We want the people who did this to pay. We want the people who helped them to pay. We want anyone who might so much as even think of doing this in the future to understand that we will not stand for it. I have faith that the world's leaders, soldiers and law enforcement officials will do everything in their power to make that happen. But for many of us, justice is not enough; it can never be enough. We want vengeance.

And that is perhaps the cruelest part of this crime against humanity. When the criminal does not fear death - when the criminal welcomes death - what penalty on this earth can dissuade them, can make them hurt the way we hurt? There is none. We can take solace in the notion that while these criminals committed their acts in a blind and twisted devotion to their god, any kind and loving god will admit their victims into paradise but leave them forever barred from it. Still, it is not enough. I do not want to leave this in the hands of any god, just as he or she may be. I want vengeance on this earth, in this life. And I will have it.

I will have revenge on those who would destroy by helping to build anew.

I will have revenge on those who would spread hate by embracing my brothers and sisters who are different from me.

I will have revenge on those who would deny us freedom by fighting harder for liberty.

I will have revenge on those who would have us live by cruelty by showing kindness.

I will have revenge on those who would commit violence by working harder for peace.

I will have revenge on those who would sow fear by living life with joy.

I will have revenge on those who would plunge the world into barbarism by leaving my children a world that was better than when I found it, and by teaching them to do the same.

These terrorists attacked more than a group of buildings; they attacked a way of life, and sought to destroy a set of ideals. It is too late to defend the buildings or the lives lost in their destruction, but we have before us the chance to defend that which they most sought to destroy. We must seize that chance. We must build a world where children do not live in fear of airplanes, where parents do not dread the news. We must build a world where that which sets us apart does not tear us apart. In doing so, we will create exactly the world the terrorists most feared and loathed. We will deny them victory. We will have our revenge.

And this vengeance will truly be sweet.

Dave Thomer staff writer

Manhattan Memories
I was thinking more today of my 5 visits (2 were very brief) to NYC and my lone trip to DC.

When I went active duty with the Air Force, I put in my choices of bases, with McGuire AFB in New Jersey being my top choice because of it being close to Philadelphia, NYC and DC. I had been interested in visiting those areas for quiet a while. My first trip to NYC came a few weeks after I arrived in New Jersey. I decided one Sunday afternoon that I really wanted to go there, even if it was by myself (which it was) by bus to at least see the city and come back and so I did. Its hard to describe what my feeling was like seeing the famous Manhattan skyline, with the twin towers very prominent. Like my trip 5 years before to England, I had a hard time believing I was actually there at a place I'd only seen through pictures.

My second trip was longer. I decided to check with the Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) offices on trips after someone I worked with mentioned it. The first trip I took with the MWR was a day visit to DC, but I never saw the Pentagon. The second trip was the visit to NYC. When we arrived in Manhattan (by van), we stopped at the WTC to meet our tour guide. The only part I actually entered there though was a restaurant. When I went home for Christmas a few months later, I went by plane from the Newark airport. I had a nice view of the Manhattan skyline and since I had a camera, decided to snap a few pics.

I took another trip to NYC with the MWR with a camera this time hoping to get better pictures of the city, but unfortunately the film got stuck in it and tore. I also made one more quick trip up and back by bus. And my final trip was in the evening, a couple of days before I ended my active duty time (which was really short). I went with a friend looking to buy some t-shirts and to look around.

I wish now that I had gone on a tour of the WTC, but I didn't. I also wish that I had been able to make it back up that way. I still hope to one day.

Mary Terrell staff writer

The New York Tragedy
I don't claim to be any kind of spokesman for this tragedy, but I think we all have personal feelings about this event. In some way I think we all know people or knew people who were impacted by this tragedy. I know that some people I know work in the medical profession here in New Jersey and may have had to respond to this event with humanitarian aid. I know one firefighter who may or may not had to render aid. For those of you who are actively involved in this in some way, I salute your work.

Tuesday brought fear and shock to many I work with here at the [New Jersey Department Of Labor] Building. The fear was compounded by the possibility that, as a state building housing government workers, we too could have been a target. We were commited to working the rest of the day and doing our service. Although that service pales next to the tiring and excruciating work our medical, fire and police crews endured, we each at least tried to do our part.

I think it's important we each continue to our part. That could include giving blood or offering some other form of volunteer service. The outpouring of support this country has seen in the past few days has been overwhelming. We must continue this.

I hope none of you lost friends, co-workers, or loved ones in this. If so, my heart goes out to you. The hearts of everyone go out to you as well.

Rob Heyman staff writer

Dave Thomer's excellent This Is Not News web site has opened a forum on this subject, and everyone's invited to participate. I would open the floor to reader submissions here, but truthfully, my work hours in the coming days and months as this crisis lingers are likely to be a little less than conducive to updating this page. Pay a visit to and join in the discussion there.
Go to This Is Not News