a Shadow of Fear Amidst the Rejoicing

>I was at my ob-gyn’s office on 9/11 when I heard the news that a plane had crashed into one of the twin towers. My hand resting on my swollen belly, wedged in uncomfortably in one of the antique chairs in the waiting room of my doctor’s Park Avenue office, I thought the receptionists meant that a small recreational plane had grazed the tower accidentally, just as had happened recently. I was anxious to hear if my baby was still in jeopardy due to low amniotic fluids and I didn’t pay much attention.
An hour later, when I walked back out into the waiting room, it was filled with crying patients and nurses. Cell phones weren’t connecting. The radio was turned up loud but the commentators knew little. A small TV in the corner of the nurses’ station showed two columns of black smoke billowing ominously into the bright blue sky. The unthinkable had happened. There was a war zone just sixty blocks away. I grabbed my husband’s hand and curved my other arm protectively around my unborn baby and we made our way out into the morning sunshine, into a changed world.

We had only one thought, to get home to our little apartment, to close the door and the curtains, and to be safe. Two weeks later, I brought my first child into a world full of fear. When she was six months old, she was frisked thoroughly by white gloved TSA officials as I stood helplessly five feet away. Her powdered formula was sniffed suspiciously and her car seat was taken apart and examined. It was terrifying and reassuring at the same time, the price of safety.

Reuters Photo

Last night, President Obama announced that justice had been carried out. Osama Bin Laden was dead, after a decade of hunting, he was killed by a squad of US soldiers. But instead of bringing relief and an end to the fear of terrorism, his death has just increased my sense of unease.

When I sent my children off to school this morning in a similar pale sunshine as that day we’ll never forget, I fought the urge to keep them close. I told them about Bin Laden’s death and they cheered, just as many others are doing in New York and DC. But I did not feel like joining them. It seems that Al Qaeda must be poised to reassert their continued strength, to make a statement about the death of their leader. Terror lurks all around us: in the water, on the commuter trains that pass my children’s school, and on the planes that fly above.

When my last child is born this fall, will the world feel any safer? Or has Bin Laden’s legacy changed us forever?

3 Responses to a Shadow of Fear Amidst the Rejoicing

  1. >When I heard the news before bed my immediate thoughts were of retaliation. I was very happy to wale up to sunny skies. I guess we'll have to take things day by day.

  2. >Like the majority of the populace, I was happy that Bin Laden is gone after almost 10 years since 9/11 when so many thousands of innocent people perished. My happiness is not for his death but for justice to be served. To live in fear is no life at all. I refuse to live in fear and will go about my daily life caring for my family for they are a more imperative focus for me.

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