There have been devastating disasters all over the world in our history, like Chernobyl, Hindenburg, Pearl Harbor, Katrina, and of course 9/11. ...Too many to list. If you were there, or at least remotely within the location, for whatever reason it impacted us more. We’re human so we fear any disaster on our very own soil. We experience more fear, pain, loss, devastation, sadness. We go through the motions more so than those who are on the other side of the country...or world in this case. Think about what’s going on in Japan. Sad, terrifying, surreal. Think about if that was happening right in your own country...your own state...your own town. It’s hitting home home now, huh? I remember where I was, what I was doing the morning of September 11th: in my office cubical, paralyzed with fear, looking outside my window for the other “missing planes” that they had reported. We were under attack. “WE” were under attack. As a whole, yes, America was under attack, but nobody seems to understand the full impact that New York went through - the biggest tragedy New York had ever seen and experienced.

I remember talking to a friend about September 11th years later. She said, “Oh, I remember where I was and the fear that went through me.” She was in Arizona watching it all happen on her television. She had nobody who lived out here in New York. Granted, she had heartfelt sadness and worry for the people going through this, however it’s different when you’re “there” - when you are apart of the tragedy. It takes on a whole new meaning. People have disagreed with me before, but I stand firm when I say, “I understand” - I understand, because although I feel heartfelt sadness, worry and fear for the people of Japan, I am certainly not going to undermine it and say I feel the same fear and sadness that they’re going through right now. In fact, I had to turn my television off for a while so I wouldn’t hear the terrifying news about their tsunami, loss of life and the nuclear threat that looms over their heads. It’s. just. different. It’s almost the same when you hear somebody who just lost a parent. You immediately send your condolences, wish them well, perhaps pray a little, and then move on... Yet, the person experiencing the loss of their parent probably doesn’t move on for many, many years.

This doesn’t make us bad people, it makes us human. What we experience is quite “real” - as opposed to watching a real tragedy happening on TV. It makes is a tad surreal in a way. I’m even speaking about the most sensitive types of people. They just cannot comprehend the depths of it all, as would someone being in the middle of it all. It takes on a whole new meaning. For the person witnessing, experiencing it all, perhaps they have a loved one who was injured or killed. People know friends who were lost in the tragedy. This makes it “real”. I remember having a little debate with my friend from Arizona about the mosque being built near ground zero. Most people within the New York area highly disagreed with the building of the mosque due to the insensitivity of it - not because of the racial issues that were suggested. Especially families who had lost their loved ones in that terrible tragedy were outraged - I mean outraged that there was even a slight inkling, a thought to even attempt to build a mosque near ground zero. Those were the people who “felt” it harder than those who hadn’t lost anyone on 9/11.

Everybody deals with tragedy differently. Some handle it more sensitively than others, while some just ‘wish them well’, and then move on. And that's okay. It doesn’t mean they’re bad people. It’s just human nature.

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: