How often we, as people – as a country full of different cultures, different diversities – look at one another – differently.
One would think that someone with disabilities has a hard time understanding or comprehending what is going on around them in their every day life.
On September 11, 2001, as with most people around the country, my day started off like the one before.
I woke up, had something to eat and went to work.
I have been given the opportunity to work with people with disabilities for over 10 years now and was at a job site with individuals that had some form of handicaps.
People that don’t know this type of field often say to me that I must have a lot of patience and I usually tell them yes they do, for putting up with me.
As the morning went on there were reports of a plane that had just collided with one of the world trade centers in New York City.
As the clients and I walked down the hallway we started to hear more.
Now a second plane had hit and more people were gone.
I decided then to bring all of them back to their office where we could find out what was really going on.
Like most companies word spread quickly, but this was different. You could feel it in the air.
Small groups of people were gathering.
Talking about what was going on.
You could not escape it – it was everywhere.
By this time we had heard of what had happened in DC and still we didn’t know why.
By break time the company we were at had placed a television out in the cafeteria where even more people gathered as we silently watched – as two mighty buildings came down. I was very honest with them at this time, how could I not be – it was everywhere.
I gave them the choice of having lunch in their office that day or if they wanted to they could eat in the café where they usually sat.
Explaining to them that there was a T.V. on and many people of many diversities were gathering.
Some of them went – while some chose to stay in their office.
There were ones that wanted to go home. Didn’t really blame them. I called my family as soon as I had a chance, just to make sure that they were all right.
As our workday came to a close, we all talked and discussed about what had happened to our country this day.
Here now are just some of the things that were said by someone who on first glance one might think that they really didn’t understand what’s going on around them.
“It’s an awful thing – these people died doing nothing wrong.”
“That plane and things – that hurts and it makes me sad inside.”
“I’m sad for the people that are no longer here and for their families, scary.”
“Lots of people died today, but lots of people were able to get out of some of the buildings. This we should be happy about – it is a sad day.”
“It’s a very sad thing that happened and I don’t know why we have to live like this. I guess that’s the b-side of life.”
As tears slowly formed in my eyes, we all sat in silence.
Remembering what had happened this day in New York City, DC, and Pennsylvania.
No wall of misunderstanding.
I came away with the same feelings that the clients had.
Feeling very sad and scared, and the unending question that we all felt that day.