My Brush with Terrorism
No, I’m not talking about the recent Boston Marathon bombing. My family and I didn’t attend the race and we live far enough away not to have been in danger. My DH was ordered not to report to his office in Cambridge on Friday since that’s near the MIT campus where the security officer was shot and killed, but otherwise, we watched the manhunt on TV like the rest of the country. I’m grateful the ordeal is over. Thank you for your prayers for my city.
But even though I was not in peril, this event brought back memories for me. Shortly after 9-11, my DH had to travel to London for business. If you follow my blog, you know when he goes someplace interesting for work, I tag along for pleasure. The Londoners we encountered were delighted to see us because Americans had been staying home in droves immediately after the towers fell. While my DH went to meetings, I embarked on my exploration of London, that wonderful 1000 year old city.
When I travel to other countries, I make use of their mass transit and am well acquainted with the London Tube. It’s a fast and efficient way of getting around the town, especially if you can travel outside the peak hours. So I was deep underground in a station, waiting for a connection to take me to the museums I’d decided to visit that day, when an eerily calm voice came over the loud speaker announcing that the station had received a bomb threat and we were to make our way out with all speed.
As one, the Londoners turned and moved in silence toward the exits. There was no shoving. No pushing. No frantic scramble to be first up the long escalators (and if you’ve been there, you know those escalators go on forever.) The power had been cut to the escalators so we trudged up the frozen stairs, wondering with each dogged step if we’d hear a detonation behind (or worse) ahead of us.
I was so proud to have English blood in my veins that day. People helped each other with quiet expediency. By the time we reached street level, bobbies with bomb sniffing dogs were headed down. Having had enough of an adventure for one day, I hailed a cab and scurried back to our hotel.
But I didn’t stay there long. The next day I was back out exploring the city and soaking up the treasures in its museums. Life is too precious, too wondrous, to live in fear. I was determined not to allow a momentary panic to keep me from experiencing it.
So today, for those who are wondering how they can ever take part in a large public event again, how they can ever trust the strangers around them, I say, there are only two choices. Either we hide in a hole, or we live our lives.
I don’t intend to hide.