The essay below was submitted to a local newspapers contest for essays on "how september 11 changed my life".  It was not published.

How did 9/11 change my life?

By David Bellin, Chapel Hill


  At 3:00 AM on the night after the towers fell, I was on break from my Red Cross Disaster Services shelter assignment in lower Manhattan, having coffee at the corner of Grand and Hester streets.  Emergency vehicles leaving “ground zero” were stopping for coffee as well, covered with a grey and white dust.  We all exchanged usually hidden thoughts, about our lives, our fears, our families, our reactions. 

At that time I found the biggest feeling to be one of concern, hope, and action.  Concern for other people:  the way many went out of their way for others was extra-ordinary.  Hope that we would all come through the catastrophe better off somehow.  And action:  without a doubt, all of us out at that time in the morning wanted to be doing something to help, instead of watching TV!

Since the days immediately following 9/11, I have had time to reflect on my life, and the lives of my fellow humans.  How many countless disasters have been inflicted on innocent civilians around the world.  My mother fleeing Nazi occupiers just weeks before her homeland fell, continuing to murder half her relatives.  Land mines left behind so that farmers of many lands die tilling the soil.  Napalm raining down from the heavens on the coutryside of Vietnam thirty years ago, bombs raining down from the skies in Afganistan today.

One day I hope our leaders and our soldiers will learn.  It would be better for us all to reflect on what our humanity is at best, not at worst, and to act again with the concern and hope I saw that week.

-30- (270 words)

David Bellin, Ph.D.   Chapel Hill, NC, USA (main base)  Welcome!