An Update From Manhattan
Nicholas Leone (M.A. '92) works on Wall Street. His account of the recent tragedy follows. Leone was profiled in the Spring 2001 issue of Fuller Focus, and you can read that story (Witness on Wall Street) at www.fuller.edu/news/pubs/fullerfocus.
September 11 was the second day back to work for most New Yorkers following an August holiday and Labor Day. Just before 9 a.m., my wife and I heard police and fire sirens from our apartment in Manhattan. The first plane had hit the World Trade Center.
We saw the footage of the first crash on TV and like many thought it was an accident. Moving back and forth from our terrace and the TV we could see downtown and the smoke from the World Trade Center in the distance.
We watched the second plane crash and immediately sensed a great deal change. In a city of millions of people like New York, you grow to expect just about anything and are rarely surprised. The terrorist attacks, however, were beyond what any of us could have imagined.
When the buildings fell one after another, the tragic turned horrific and it became clear it was time to act! Our 15 block walk in Manhattan to volunteer at Lenox Hospital was like nothing I have ever experienced. There was a mass exodus of people walking on the sidewalk shoulder to shoulder in silence.
The people of New York responded so valiantly that within hours there were lines several blocks long to give blood, too many volunteers to help, and all the preparations for the response was complete. We worked closely with the hospital's chairman and the staff chaplain to establish a bereavement and counseling room for victims' families. The most telling moment was when an executive, obviously a survivor, covered in dust and in a daze carrying one shoe, walked in and gave blood to help! I thanked God with him that he had been spared.
Afterward, the city was literally closed for several days. The streets, some six lanes wide, were completely empty. The reality of the tragedy moved closer to our personal lives each day as we meet survivors with their own stories.
Normal life has yet to return to New York City. Many of my colleagues, normally driven and engulfed in the work and life of New York, are finding it hard to motivate and examining the meaning of their lives. New Yorkers continue to demonstrate a strong desire to help and for action. But with this new kind of war, there is little to do but raise flags, share faith in community gatherings, and perhaps to pray.