Those Women on the Street

Ariadne - Santa Fe, New Mexico
Entered on April 13, 2009
Age Group: Under 18
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Those Women on the Street:

As we drove down the large and busy road- which seemed overly quiet for New York City- I watched the women walking down the sidewalk, some loosing their balance and teetering precariously on the curb. The women had their heels in their hands, most were black but you could spy the occasional red pair of heels, most obviously belonging to the joker and fun one of the workplace. Yet, they certainly did not look like jovial red-heel wearing workingwomen that day. The makeup and hair they had probably spent so much time on that morning, were plastered with ashes; a gray ash that had hidden the carefully applied mascara, and bright red lips, but an ash that allowed the solemn tears. This ash was not normal ash; it was not like anything any of us had seen before this day. It was powdered building, powdered meaning, and powdered pride. With this ash everything that the American people had believed in up to now was pulverized. The magnificent city was being covered with this blanket of ruined confidence, and in the middle of it a red glow pulsated, it was like the injured heart of a beast spurting up grey, dry powdered blood.

For days after this experience I wondered; I wondered about what these souls who had witnessed one of the most horrific terrorism crimes in history were thinking. Would they ever forgive? And it is from this that my theory has sprung:

I believe that humans have the capability to forgive, to forgive even when the worst crime has been committed. Certainly, we will never fully move on; move on from seeing and feeling those horrific things that day. None of us who were there- not even a seven-year-old girl- will ever forget the grey ash that covered us for months on end, and lay heavy on our souls for days and nights. We will not forget those lives that were lost, or the pain that was felt. We will not forget our injured pride, or the useless moves the government tried to make to solve the problem. But we should not forget that forgetting is a very different thing than forgiving, and we can never forgive if we forgot the offense. After eight years our country and nation, and my family, your family, and even the small family that lives in an igloo in Alaska have forgiven. We have forgiven that act of violence. We have forgiven by electing a new administration whose slogan is “Change”, we have forgiven by going on with our daily lives and activities and by continuing to mourn those who died. We have forgiven, but don’t forget that we have not forgotten.

Now, you are probably asking yourself how an innocent seven-year-old girl could understand this event, but I understand. The memory is seared into my mind like the red glow emanating from the city that day. This is not the only memory. I have the memory of family members’ tears and silence, and the memory of having been blessed with an explanation by these remarkable people around me of what had happened. I attribute my belief greatly to my family. They are he ones who explained why we should forgive the act. I must admit at seven it was very hard to understand why I should forgive, but after seeing others forgive I forgave.

When I was seven I never though I would forgive, forgive the planes that caused so much harm and deaths, now I know I forgave, and I believe in our capability to forgive.