A Tale of Two Terrors

- Joellen Monson

The lives of every living American has been touched or will in the future feel repercussions from the terrible events which occurred on 9-11-01. We mourn, not only for the loss of life, but for the freedom lost to us all. Freedom of movement, freedom to feel safe, freedom from innocence.

The name "terrorists" has been used for the people who use terror to affect our daily lives. The terror experienced directly in New York and Washington D.C. is palatable, visceral, visible and experienced through all the senses. 

The winds shifting through those cities makes everyone who lives near the ground zero sights continue to re-experience the reality of what happened to their neighborhoods. We, watching on television experience it quite removed through sight and sometimes sound - but we too will not forget. The ongoing threat of loss of life, damage to cities, shutting down of services that is the terror that is real.

The second "terror" that these disturbed groups hope to use to full effect is that of omnipresent fear. Our freedom to go about our daily lives with unconcerned trust has ended. Our governments - local and national - are and will continue to be on heightened alert. We need them to do this, some of our rights may be inconvenienced, and the trade off is security.  We must adjust our minds to our new reality. There are those who are willing to give up their right to complete safety by going off to war for all of us, so our sacrifices are small in comparison.

What we can do on an individual level, in our daily lives is this: We must not succumb to feelings of being continually "terrorized". We cannot let them win that fight. We must be brave in the face of fear, we must be brave in the face of changes. We must let our children know that even though there are no guarantees in life that we will always do everything we can to protect them and that for right now they are safe. 

Do not allow your young children to watch the news coverage of these events as they continue to unfold. You edit for them what you think they can handle. Think of your own shock as you see and hear these stories - do not submit their still innocent souls to the raw reality of this insanity. Explain, in your words, what is happening. Reassure them that you will do all you can, as will the people who care for them at school, to protect them. Let them know it is OK if they see you crying from the overwhelming sadness of it all. It is OK that we are angry and confused - allow them to feel their own feelings about this growing crisis. But comfort them, hug them, enjoy them because life is precious and none of us ultimately knows what tomorrow will bring.