Re: [gardeners] World Trade Center blast

Ron Hay (
Sat, 15 Sep 2001 10:35:33 -0700

Hello, Penny,

We were delighted to read that your loved ones are OK. Your personal
account really echoed in my mind, and still reverberates.

We were worried sick over our niece's family, since her husband works
for Goldman Sachs in one of the smaller buildings of the WTC. We were
vastly relieved to hear from Kathy, his wife, that his offices had been
moved some blocks away, several months earlier, and that he had been at
a breakfast meeting at some distance from the WTC. He received a message
on his high-end pager that a plane had struck a tower. He immediately
excused himself and ran for the train to Short Hills, New Jersey, where
he lives, together with his wife, my niece, and his two sons. He caught
the last train out of Manhattan to New Jersey. Whew!

The silence here in our house in Van Nuys, just "over the hill" from Los
Angeles, has been deafening. We live two blocks away from Sherman Way
along which is the flights approaching Burbank airport. banking come in.
We are about 7 miles from Burbank Airport, and about 2 miles away from
Van Nuys Airport, the busiest general aviation airport in the world.
When the planes stopped, at first it felt rather odd, since one becomes
accustomed to the sounds of planes during our waking hours (those
airports are closed after 10 p.m., generally).

But the stillness grew stranger by the hour, to the point of being
eerie. There were few people on the road; most were glued to their TVs.
Most city and county office buildings were shut down, out of safety
considerations. All concerts, open air events and most shopping malls
were shut down.

Vivian, on the other hand, left for work a half hour earlier than usual,
to catch the early train, after waking some of her support staff at the
LA Times who normally come in much later and leave much later than she.
She knew it would be a big news day. The crash into the first tower was
the first real bit of news we heard, shortly after our radio came on at
5:30. It was not an auspicious beginning.

When Vivian came home that night, she was beside herself, having seen
the photos coming in on the wire services, many of which were too
graphic for the LAT to print. We had tried to reach Kathy, in Short
Hills, numerous times during the day by cell phone, but only around 6
our time were we able to reach her by landline. Vivian burst into tears
of joy when she heard that Craig was ok.

Going to work that day brought surcease, but also renewed pain, as a TV
was placed in our conference room, where we all were both attracted and
repelled by the spectacle unfolding before us.

Shortly after I had been in my office,  I received a phone call from
Arab-American clients of mine, wishing to sell their home. What a
discussion we had! They are loyal Americans, Arab Christians (as are
many Arab-Americans, and were appalled by what had happened....and
terrified at what might happen to them. Sadly enough, xenophobia is
rearing its ugly head. Patriotism is a wonderful thing, but when
misdirected in the form of xenophobia, well, we almost become the people
whom we despise.

Let us pray for justice, brave hearts and God's guidance.

Sadly, yet proudly,