{ missing pieces }

What the Bombs Did

Walking the streets of New York City, I see flags and think of death in foreign places. I see college students and picture them in uniform.

The 26th Street Armory near where I'm living has turned into an information center for the families of the missing. It's understood that most will never be accounted for.

Two beautiful women smile at me from a MISSING poster taped to the gates of Gramercy Park. They were 27 years old.

On the TV news, I see a middle-aged man who refused to flee when the jets hit because his quadriplegic friend was trapped.

The beautiful women did not shape America's foreign policy. The middle-aged man was not responsible for his murderers' grievances, whatever those were.

The murderers who turned our jets into bombs and our tallest buildings into gas chambers did not bother to explain who they represented or what they wanted our country to do.

They did not come to protest. They came to butcher.

A friend writes from Turkey. He tells me the Arab world is trembling at the thought of American bombs. I tell him we are trembling here also.

I have lost my illusion that the worst of human history was behind us.

I have lost my conviction that reason can bring peace.

I have lost interest in the shape of my own life. My personal concerns feel beside the point. I have not lost my faith but seem to have misplaced it.

As I write these words, I hear a plane overhead and wonder if the next thing I hear will be a sudden, terrible impact.

A friend says all most of us can do now is be good to the people we love. In these dark days I feel love for strangers on the street. If we can continue to love one another, then perhaps God has not abandoned His experiment on this earth.

Jeffrey Zeldman

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