"Nicholas Thurkettle's Attack on America"

To all my friends and loved ones-

Although I will carry its echo with me for the rest of my life, the fingers of my mind and memory will never again completely grasp the feeling that shook through my body on Tuesday morning, as I watched the World Trade Center shudder, smoke, and sink into the ground. The feeling of a hole being drilled through me, my body twisting with the force around it. My mind struggling to accept the reality of what I saw.

We were assaulted, not "we" as in America, or the Champions of Democracy, but all of Humankind. Humanity scarred itself, all people victimized by the darkest elements of our own nature. The animal, the shadow that lashes, that understands only how to hurt the perceived enemies that surround it, that does not know how to create change but only how to destroy, came out of hiding, unexpected as it always is, and stung us.

Will we trade freedom for security? Will we retreat from the lives we lead, recognizing that any moment, any place could be the next target? I donít envision a New America of freedom washed away by the rogue acts of hiding cowards. I think in our swirling grief and despair in those first hours our minds might have visited those dark places, but quickly returned.

I cannot speak from behind the eyes of someone who was there, or someone who experienced a personal loss. But I know what I saw. As the day stretched on, and I needed contact, to emerge from my home and see people still going about the business of life, I went to a restaurant for an unforgettable meal. I consider myself blessed, for I looked around the room and saw, in every single pair of eyes, the same resolve, the same willingness to face this darkest nightmare and still choose life. To move on. America has been tempered and hardened, and the terrorists have already lost. This cowardice and hate will never be more than a petty remnant of the lesser humanity we are leaving behind; the dying actions of puny, obsolete fearmongers.

Beat us, blow us up, try to convince us that nowhere is safe. We will still march forward, hand in hand. We move, as always, towards one race, one world, and one people, free. Many cultures, many languages, many relationships with many different Gods, but one people. We Shall Overcome.

Bless you all, bless humanity, and bless life. Unite against fear and hate.

I love you all,
Nicholas Thurkettle

3,000 died. Bad writing lives on.
Reprinted without permission.



America Unites

I wrote this essay to send to my friends on September 13, as a way to begin dealing with my feelings in the aftermath. I offer it here as nothing more than it is: a simple effort to pay tribute both to the dead - to acknowledge that it was not in vain -and to the spirit of humanity, which lives on and charges forward.
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