..Donald Owens..

Buried Deep Within Our Souls

September 13, 2001. My twin brother David and I were born 53 years ago today. He began his life at 3:55 a.m.; I arrived ten minutes later. No matter the distance traveled, we have never been more than ten minutes apart. Twins are like that; watching out for one another, protecting their loved ones, standing tall, side by side, together, always together.

In Manhattan, on a crystal clear Tuesday morning, and while standing guard over liberty harbor, America's most recognizable twins were murdered; cut down twenty-three minutes apart. Attacked by cowards, they fought valiantly to remain standing while countless human beings ran, stumbled and jumped for their lives.

By mid afternoon I clicked off the television, stepped out of my westside apartment and peddled my bike down 9th Avenue, in search of a city I had never seen. Its streets, empty of cars and buses, were filled with trudging souls, some with dirty faces, others gripping treasures snatched while fleeing. Neighborhood saloons were filled to overflowing with patrons congregating on sidewalks and talking with strangers as jet fighter planes patrolled our avenues. Traffic cops with machine guns stopped the occasional vehicle checking identity and purpose.

So many people have been traumatized by this tragedy. One friend, while deciding which way to run, saw the second plane crash into the South Tower. Joe, a diamond dealer from midtown, spent Tuesday night comforting his best friend's wife and little girl. Their husband and daddy had called home from his office in the North Tower to say that he was okay. He is missing. His wife and daughter spent Tuesday night screaming at the television, wailing over and over again, "Why? Why?" My young neighbor, Josh, hasn't come home yet. We planned to jam on our guitars this weekend. It's been two days and where is Josh?

Thousands of men and women are working around the clock, breathing, digging and scraping through drifts of toxic dust particles. They are desperately searching for survivors -- for their brothers and sisters.

On Chelsea Pier I witnessed reporters, doctors, and Red Cross workers tending to exhausted police and fire fighters. Everyone wore matching uniforms of white soot and grime.

All faces shared the chiseled look of resolve,
compassion and heartache.

Fire stations all over town are adorned with floral arrangements; these are accompanied by photographs of our missing heroes, and notes of love, sorrow and gratitude. Wednesday evening around 7:00, I stopped by a firehouse on West 58th Street. I joined other New York Citians who were compelled to pay respects to the heroic members of The NYFD. One by one we spoke briefly with the skeleton crew of men that stood near a big red door. We needed to tell them that we love them and pray for their safety. Their tears were real and humble and humbling.

In the days ahead as we bury our loved ones deep within our souls, let this crucible teach us all that evil, even this incomprehensible depravity, cannot destroy goodness. Through an unleashed outpouring of courage, love, kindness and generosity we have witnessed the resurrection of America's twin towers of hope and love. They are not only standing tall; they are scraping the skies of heaven.

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Editor's note: The essay, written by New Sun staff reporter Don Owens, was presented recently at a Mount Dora, Florida, Writer's Competition. This event was sponsored by noted author, Jade Fairell.

His writing was described by the panel of judges as evocative, visual, and moving. Owens' public reading of Buried Deep Within Our Souls drew a reflective and deeply emotional response from those in attendance.

In the fall of 2001 Americans vowed to "Never Forget." Perhaps the time has come when we should ask ourselves, "What will we choose to remember?" Will ours be a legacy of hatred, resentment and an inability to understand and forgive? Will we become a nation of warriors? Or will our citizens recall that amid the madness and horror of 9-11 we witnessed a miracle of love and caring that would inspire us to choose a higher road.

At a time when turmoil, hatred and unrest fuels practically every headline we read, The New Sun is pleased to reprint this essay, thus providing our readers with an opportunity to reflect on where it all began.