I have been a huge fan of NYC for many years. In the days following the attack, I felt like I was supposed to be there helping out. This friend and I had made several trips to the city prior to 9-11 but none since. We just really enjoy the city and, during our visits, we got to know it fairly well. We would frequently have tourists stop us and ask us for directions. We were usually able to help them, pretending successfully that we really were native New Yahkers. New York is one place where, because of its constant bombardment on your senses, I feel like I can forget any worries or concerns that I might have.
It's hard for me to imagine what New York is like now. Although Americans forget quickly, we can all remember those who lost their lives. And I suspect that natives to the city are a little bit more cautious and on alert even today. I hope they are. I do not want to see the city suffer another tragedy.
When I was in Israel, I got to see what it's like to be a place where, for security reasons, people are on "high alert" all the time. Security cameras and armed police and military are common. You don't dare leave your belongings or a package sitting someplace unsupervised. Israelis do security very well because they have had years of practice.
Realistically, probably very few countries in the world are as lax on security as the USA is. I was in Europe about 25 years ago and again about six years ago. I probably sensed greater caution there on my first trip than my second but still it is far different than the relaxed attitude we can maintain here in the states, even in this post 9-11 era.
As we all reflect back on 9-11, our hearts go out to those who were personally impacted in direct and painful ways. I have never experienced the tragedy of losing a loved one completely without expectation. It is hard to imagine how you cope with that.
But I also just think about how easy it has become for us here in the states to complain about difficulties with increased security measures in recent years. And yet we're still nowhere close to where much of the world is.
I grew up in a very small town, completely carefree. We kids would be out wandering around town for hours on end and our parents did not have to worry at all. I suppose that, in our small community, someone in town always recognized us and knew where we were but, still, we had a sense of endless freedom.
I wish my son could grow up in that kind of world. I wish the whole world could live in that kind of world. Let's pray for that.