Archive for the ‘tragedy’ Category
Greetings from lovely White Plains, New York.
I’ve been up here a few days, having flown up to New York City on Monday for a series of meetings.
No sooner had I accompanied my colleague down to baggage claim at JFK than I saw the first reports emerging about the bombings in Boston.
Not long after we heard about the ricin letters.
And then this morning I woke up to the news about the fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas.
It made me sick to my stomach, and my heart goes out to the folks in West.
I drove through there just last weekend on my to Lake Whitney just west of West to play some golf with my father.
Many of the people who live there are of Czech descent, and are known for both their hospitality to travelers and for their scrumptious kolaches.
So I wanted to pass along this “Things You Need to Know About West” list, for I and my colleagues are feeling a little homesick at the moment being up here in the Northeast while all this is going on back on our doorstep in central Texas.
Thankfully, I’ll be heading back home later this afternoon, which means I’ll likely be in a JFK queue instead of reporting on IBM earnings, as I’m normally wont to do on earnings day.
I’ll be sure to do an earnings post when I get back to Texas.
I just watched President Obama tearfully try to share his thoughts and sentiments for the victims and their families on behalf of the American people, and once again we shake our heads at such massive and senseless violence.
I used to live in Westchester County, and worked in Somers, a stone’s through from Newtown up I-84, and to imagine such horror in as lovely a rural Connecticut town as that…well, it reminds us how precious life really is.
For those of you out there with children, I’m sure you’ll be hugging them that much harder and closer this evening, thankful for their well-being and safety.
For those in Connecticut who were directly or even indirectly impacted by the shooting, I can only say to you the majority of the American people share the sentiment and compassion of our president.
In the time of a holiday season, we should have the opportunity to be joyous and celebratory as we prepare to travel and be with our respective families, and instead, this.
I can only say for myself, I’ll be much more appreciative of the time I get to spend with my own family for the holidays, and in the meantime, offer my condolences, thoughts and prayers for our friends in Connecticut.
Right now, I would imagine they need all the love and support they can get.
I don’t have a lot to say on the anniversary of September 11th.
Or, I have so much to say, I’m not sure how to bring it all together and make some sense out of it.
Though I had already moved to Austin by the time of the attacks, the New York area was the only other place I had ever lived other than Texas. An attack on New York was like an attack on my person.
I was visiting New York on business just prior to the attacks, and remember sitting at Laguardia just two days prior, on 9/9.
It was a gorgeous day, another of those blue September skies, and I remember noticing the Twin Towers off in the distance, which was a revelation — I knew you could see them from Newark, but never from LaGuardia.
Two weeks later, I remember flying back up to NYC for another business trip, making that turn at the bottom of Manhattan, and seeing the still smoldering ashes and now ghost limb of a skyline.
As so many had said it would, things had changed during those two weeks.
The drumbeats of bloodlust and revenge were pounding. I landed at LaGuardia this time and it was a ghost town, like something out of a Stephen King novel. The only seeming inhabitants were the National Guard patrolling the gates with their assault rifles.
When I went down to the Ground Zero area, I remember passing by Canal Street and seeing the hundreds of missing persons postings, and crayon drawings of planes flying into buildings.
Once at Ground Zero, I remember the troops announcing that you could no longer take photographs, that this was a crime scene.
It was at that moment I knew we were headed for some slippery slope territory.
I was also impacted by all my New York friends’ stories — some who were in or around the Towers that day, some who were on their way there, one who had been scheduled for one of the ill fated flights and cancelled at the last minute, one who lost someone in one of the Towers.
There were too many close calls and coincidences than I cared to count.
On that day, my biggest priority was making sure all my friends and colleagues in the New York I had loved and left were okay.
And, thankfully, they were.
That is what I choose to remember about 9/11 on this, today, the 11th anniversary: The gestures, big and small, that were about reaching out in concern and caring for others.
Whether loved ones or strangers, there was a compassion and outreach expressed during those days and weeks after the Towers fell that revealed an inner kindness normally masked by our tough American exterior.
That was some of the goodness that emerged from the ashes, and that goodness is something I think we’d all like to see more of in our everyday lives.
Though it may have taken great tragedy to bring it about it, there’s no reason we have to wait for another such tragedy to reveal that goodness.
Perhaps the revelation of that potential for good is the one precious gift that rose through the horror and blackness of the ash and soot on that beautiful, blue September day.
When I woke up today, remembering this is the week of The Open Championship in the U.K., what I expected to see when I turned on the TV were golf scores.
Instead, it was the horror of another mass shooting — eerily, only 20 minutes away from the tragedy that occurred at Columbine High School in 1999 — and this time, in the midst of a midnight screening of the new Batman movie.
A dark night rises, indeed.
Never mind the irony of having the excitement and thrills of turning out at midnight to see Hollywood’s latest from the “Dark Knight” oeuvre, where Batman/Bruce Wayne struggle with their role in fighting crime (or not) in Gotham City, quickly evolving into a very real horror unveiling itself in front of your very eyes.
This was real life, and once again, an extremely tragic, seemingly senseless shooting occurs and there seems to be no explaining it.
It appears thus far that this was the work of a “lone gunman,” and a 24 year-old suspect, James Holmes, is in custody.
Perhaps the only goodness that can come from this horror is that the perpetrator is still among us, and at least an attempt can be made to try and understand what was going through his twisted mind that he would resort to such massive violence for such meaningless and horrific ends.
But I suspect, as is the case with any such mass shooting, whatever explanation there is will never be enough to satisfy those surviving family members whose loved ones were taken from them so tragically.
As President Obama said this morning when speaking about the shooting, “Life is short and fragile,” and suggested that the good that can come out of such a situation is to reflect on how we treat one another and love one another.
“What we will remember is those we loved, and how we treated them,” said the president from Ft. Myers, Florida.
I’ll simply say “Amen” to that, and send out my utmost sympathies and condolences to the people of Colorado.
The end of a very dark night will likely lead to some even longer and darker days to come as we collectively reflect on what brings us such senseless and purposeless violence.
You are in my thoughts and prayers, Colorado.